By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: courtesy Mount Alexander Shire

THE LAUNCH of a new rural Victoria wheelchair-accessible minibus service, facilitated via government and local council funding, will allow elderly, frail and those with a disability greater access to key ‘wellness centres’, it’s been announced.

Future connections to other Wellbeing Centres in Kyneton and Maryborough will also be explored, the government confirms.

Connecting Mount Alexander locals to vital services, eligible residents now have affordable access to a new wheelchair-accessible 11-seat Renault Master Bus - nicknamed 'Peggy' - providing transport for residents unable to access a car or public transport, the Victorian Government explains.

The new Community Wellbeing Bus pilot program provides locals year-round access to the Gurri Wanyarra Wellbeing Centre in Kangaroo Flat, which is a regional scale facility offering a range of aquatic, leisure and wellness programs.

Future connections to other Wellbeing Centres in Kyneton and Maryborough will also be explored, the government confirms.

Development of the new Community Wellbeing Bus has been made possible with a $123,000 government investment, in partnership with $32,000 from Mount Alexander Shire Council with support from local community groups, they explain.

The funding is part of the Flexible Local Transport Solutions Program (FLTS), which provides funding for local transport initiatives, services and infrastructure in regional Victoria, they add.



The FLTS program works with local transport forums, regional partnerships, local councils and community organisations to identify and deliver local transport opportunities, the government explains.

Bookings can be made by calling the Community Wellbeing Bus Project Coordinator on (03) 5471 1797.

Victorian Minister for Public Transport Ben Carroll, said: "We know accessible transport is vital for those living in regional and rural areas, which is why we’ve worked with the local community to deliver better access to these vital services support these improved services."

"Whether it’s upgrading every regional rail line, delivering more rolling-stock, or supporting community initiatives such as the Community Wellbeing Bus, we’re giving Victorians better access to the services they need."

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Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards, said: "I thank the local community for working with us – to get this vital program off the ground."

"This new Community Wellbeing Bus will make life easier for locals by reducing isolation and improving access to regional community facilities."

Mount Alexander Shire Mayor Tony Cordy, said: "Thanks to funding from the Victorian Government we now have our first wheelchair-accessible bus, which will support people with a disability, people who are older or frail, and those without transport to be able to access vital health and wellbeing services."

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