November 11, 2011
Greens candidate for the Clarence by-election, Janet Cavanaugh, today called on major investment to address disadvantage in the Clarence electorate.
“It is 5 years since three postcodes in the electorate were included in the list of most disadvantaged areas in the State,” Ms Cavanaugh said. “The NSW Government needs to invest in services, particularly transport and health services, to improve the quality of life in this area.
“I am a resident of the Richmond Valley and know that some local residents are doing it tough. I live in Whiporie, within the postcode zone of 2469 – a postcode it shares with South Tabulam, Rappville and Woombah.
“When Tony Vinson mapped social and economic disadvantage in NSW in 2006, the postcode 2469 came up in the top 5 in the state suffering most disadvantage, 2470 (Casino) was in the next band of 5 and 2471 (Coraki/ Bora Ridge/ Bungawalbin) was in Band 3. These are all in the northern half of Clarence.
“One of Tony Vinson's key recommendations was improving transport options to enable people to travel to jobs and access vital education, health and human services. He specifically mentioned rural areas where public transport options are extremely limited.
“In many places the only public transport is the school bus. But, of course, it doesn’t run during school holidays and it leaves town during work hours.”
Ms Cavanaugh recognises that this is not just a problem for rural areas but is an issue affecting town centres as well.
“There is no way that you can get from Casino to Lismore before 10am by public transport during school holidays. The early bus is only viable due to the school bus subsidy but it is vital for people wanting to access work or services in Lismore.
“Successive state governments have failed to invest in our public transport system, particularly in rural areas. There is an assumption that anyone who lives out of town – no matter how much or how little they earn – has to get around by private car. This leaves residents extremely vulnerable when their car breaks down.
“In the absence of the train, local buses are the only public transport option. Countrylink buses, which could supplement the current inadequate services, are prohibited from competing with current providers within their licensed areas, even if no bus service is being provided on the ground.
“If elected, I will lobby for improved transport services covering our electorate,” she said.
Contact: Janet Cavanaugh – 0429 479 968