Disability self-advocates from the New Wave Gippsland Self Advocacy Group say that the road outside their office is dangerous to cross. They have released a video as a call to action for VicRoads to do something about it.
The New Wave Gippsland office is in Morwell on Commercial Road, within disability service provider The Tipping Foundation. On any given day New Wave estimate up to twenty people with cognitive disability may need to cross the busy road from the bus stop to access the disability services The Tipping Foundation and Interchange Gippsland.
The video features members of New Wave speaking about why they feel the road is unsafe, and shows what it is like for group members Maryanne and David as they attempt to cross the road.
New Wave Gippsland have partnered with The Tipping Foundation and Interchange Gippsland to make their video, by asking the participants at these services how they feel about crossing the road each day. Interchange Gippsland and The Tipping Foundation approximate that between four and seven participants from each service catch the bus each day. In addition to this are the members of New Wave Gippsland, people attending training programs and members of the community.
‘I hope they do fix the road up,’ said Maryanne Huggins, one of the New Wave Self Advocates featured crossing the road in the video. ‘I know a guy that comes here, and he’s forgotten to look both ways before crossing, and there was a car coming. I had to help him.’
Kathryn Bartlett is leading the New Wave group in the lobbying activity; she has experience with successfully lobbying on a similar issue. Kathryn played a key role in a group at Moe Life Skills Community Centre, that lobbied for greater road safety outside the disability service. Their lobbying resulted in a traffic island being built outside their venue on High Street, Moe.
‘The road is very dangerous, and the locals probably know that already,’ Kathryn says of the crossing on Commercial Road. ‘Some staff [from Interchange Gippsland and the Tipping Foundation] are going out there making a point of crossing the road with the clients.’ Kathryn herself catches the bus to attend the New Wave Gippsland office, and noted that ‘this morning it took me ages to cross the road because it was busy.’
Rachael Walters, leader of the New Wave group, also catches the bus frequently. Rachael says ‘When I’m leaving the New Wave office, I’ve noticed it’s a very busy road – especially in the afternoon – and it’s hard to cross without being hit by a car. VicRoads need to do something so it’s less dangerous.’
The video made by New Wave Gippsland is in an ‘open letter’ format and has been emailed to VicRoads, plus it has been uploaded to YouTube and the New Wave Gippsland website – see https://youtu.be/ycIRlQqhoZI