Specialising in the human experience of Living with prostate cancer – warts and all

Community manipulation at its best

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Yesterday in the mail box, rural Whitfield residents received notice of a public meeting to be held today at 2.30pm, while everyone was at work, regarding the State Government promise to provide a bus service between the upper King Valley and Wangaratta. On top of that, the meeting displaced the regular meeting of our Red Cross ladies who had to move to another venue … and the natives were restless.

The meeting was called by the Department of Infrastructure, the Rural City of Wangaratta and Ovens and King Community Health.

Predictably, there had been no community consultation, and the community was confronted by a ‘done deal’ providing a Monday, Tuesday and Friday return service to Wangaratta utilising a 21 seat bus.

The guaranteed service was well received by those attending the meeting but the Tuesday service was questioned as it conflicts with the locum doctor coming to town. Moyhu would have the same problem if that service was moved to Wednesday.

Using the existing O&K service as a base, the overall appearance of the ‘done deal’ is an extension of the Ovens & King Community Bus Service which has been a joke ever since our own community bus died in the mid 90’s.

The Monday bus service has been inaccessible to the general public because of the swimming program for the elders. The alternate Friday service has failed because we have never been told which Friday it is operating. Then when people book, the service has been frequently cancelled as there have been less than three passengers.

With the removal of the community nurse, the community car and the current part time operation of the community health centre, some in the Whitfield community have lost confidence in the O&K Health Service.

If Ovens and King Community Health have ANY influence in the scheduling of this public bus service to service their needs, it is doomed to failure. There are quite a few residents who would use the bus but for the treatment they have received by O&K.

A 21 seat bus, with four seats removed for wheel chair access, and a team of “Bus Buddies” to help the elderly (and that is O&K influence) will result in there being no access for the general community once again on the Monday service.

It must be pointed out that the Ovens and King bus service is not a public transport service. It is a community bus service operated to suit the programming of Ovens and King Community Health Service at Moyhu. That is what they do well. They should be required to keep their own bus in service to meet their needs.

This was to be a public transport bus service to link the King Valley with the Hume region – not a cost shifting exercise for the operation of a bus to service the needs of O&K clients.


Written by Greg Naylor

16 August 2006 at 9:45 pm

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  1. […] a ‘Community Meeting’ purporting to seek input from the community?  It smacks of the ‘Community Meeting’ held two years ago purporting to seek community input into a bus service promised by the State […]

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