Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Pop-up session in Rochester

Campaspe Shire rural access officer Andrew Thomson was in Rochester for last week’s pop-up session so residents could air their concerns.

July 24, 2014 3:18am

Rochester resident Pearl Hutchins met Campaspe Shire rural access officer Andrew Thomson at last week’s pop-up session.

Rochester residents had a chance to air their concerns over access issues around town at a pop-up session recently.

Campaspe Shire rural access officer Andrew Thomson held the survey sessions in each of the shire towns.

‘‘A lot of people can feel isolated due to their age, disability or even gender,’’ he said.

‘‘Council is developing a new access and inclusion plan for the next four years and we really need to know the specific concerns in each locality before we finalise it.’’

A common theme with most respondents was the lack of suitable transport to major centres.

‘‘Some people are unable to access specialist medical services say in Echuca, Shepparton or Bendigo simply because it is too difficult to get there,’’ Mr Thomson said.

‘‘Overseas experience sees towns setting up community cars, organising volunteer drivers and car pooling opportunities to overcome the problems.’’

Council is also active in ensuring everyone has access to its communications.

All shire literature is available in large print from its offices and for those with sight or hearing concerns the shire website now features a program called ReadSpeaker which actually reads the pages to the user.

Council’s website and information infrastructure is also being updated to provide more assistive technology and in the new year the latest access capabilities will be promoted in all libraries to demonstrate their uses.

A community forum on the access and inclusion plan will be held on Thursday at the Rochester shire hall from 10.30am to noon.

To register, contact Mr Thomson 54812253.

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