No bus service means missed opportunities

30 Dec 2017 Border Mail, Albury-Wodonga (General News) by Ellen Ebsary WITHOUT a direct bus route from Corryong to Wodonga, residents have limited access to education, health and other key services, a local believes. Louise Middleton has been pushing for a dedicated service since a bus funded by Catholic College Wodonga for school students, including from Belvoir Special School, ceased this year. The only other bus to Wodonga also acts as a mail run, which takes three hours and has limited layover time. Ms Middleton said there once was a V/Line bus, and it needed to be reinstated. This service no longer runs it was merged with the mail run, she said. I envisage the bus would probably leave Corryong about 7.30 in the morning and do a TAFE and Catholic College drop-off and depending on demand, a stop at the university. Ms Middleton said a number of health services and even social events could not be accessed by members of the community who dont have the ability to drive into Wodonga. Elderly people that meet certain criteria can catch a community car, but thats generally for medical appointments, she said. Theres no psychologist in Corryong; theres only a flyin female GP; you cant buy bathers or goggles in town. The good thing about the Catholic College bus was that people were coming back to their community. Corryong Neighbourhood Centre community services co-ordinator Michael Leonhard backed up Ms Middletons concerns. I deal with a lot of people who have mental health and drug and alcohol issues and theres an expectation they drive to Wodonga to access services and many of them arent meant to be on the road, he said. Having a bus service would open the door to education, training and under the NDIS, assist those who still live at home to take advantage of the services in Albury-Wodonga. Mr Leonhard said many Corryong residents faced under-employment. Of 19 students who completed a certificate three in rural services last year, 15 werent able to get job placements, he said. We have a lot of people earning a small amount of income which brings them into the bottom 15 per cent of Australias economy. Unless we create opportunity, people wont be able to sustain themselves in the local community, and creating opportunity can be as simple as changing a bus line. Ms Middleton has contacted Northern Victoria MLC Jaclyn Symes, has the support of Wodonga TAFE, and is running a petition that member for Benambra Bill Tilley will present to parliament in February. Caption Text: FILL THE GAP: Cudgewa mum Louise Middleton is pushing government to fund a daily bus from Corryong to Wodonga. Picture: MARK JESSER Licensed by Copyright Agency. You may only copy or communicate this work with a licence.