Bowel Cancer Awareness- Reordering,
When the Government announced that it was going to privatise Newcastle Buses and Ferries there was scepticism in the community. The community believed that a privatised model would cut services and put profits before people. The Minister for Transport and Infrastructure tried to hose that down by promising the community a world-class transport system. When the Minister said, "We will deliver a world-class transport system that you deserve," did he include in his definition of "world-class transport system" the situation of Kimberley, a mum with a brand new baby, who has been left stranded and isolated by Newcastle Buses? There is not one bus on her route that has wheelchair access.
When the Minister talked about a "world-class transport system", was he referring to the situation faced by Mr Walters, an 89-year-old man from Marks Point, who was forced to walk home from Belmont in the dark because the Minister signed off on reduced operating hours? Perhaps the Minister was referring to a situation such as that faced by Warren, a vision‑impaired man from Eleebana, who is expected to get three buses, and who, even with a taxi subsidy, would spend up to $300 a week to get to work. Dwayne is an intellectually disabled man from Redhead whose best option to get to work on time, according to the Government's Trip Planner, is to leave the night before. A blind couple who lived in Adamstown had to sell their house because the bus stop at the front of their home was removed. Thirty-seven students from Callaghan College Wallsend campus were left stranded. Parents and teachers had to drive them home.
As we now know, the Minister's shallow words amount to either a lie or a broken promise because we have poor connections, longer journey times, a more inconvenient service and reduced operating hours. People with disability, workers, and students have been forgotten. The elderly, the frail and the most vulnerable have all been forgotten. Just this morning I spoke to a woman from Nords Wharf whose adult daughter Clancey has an intellectual disability. For years, Clancey travelled from Swansea to Hamilton on the 350 bus but she is now forced to travel on the school bus. What dignity does that afford her? Government members should be ashamed of themselves that a disabled woman now has to travel on a school bus with schoolchildren. Where is the Minister? He has skulked out of the Chamber—I knew he would—because members are hearing the facts, not his fake stories. As members of Parliament, we come to this place to improve the lives of the people we represent. The Minister for Transport and Infrastructure should not be a Minister of the Crown. He is not fit to hold that position.