I injured my spinal cord during rugby union training session in 2008 resulting in quadriplegia. I lost the ability to move my arms and legs -- and I am totally reliant on my chin control power wheelchair for mobility.
Getting around suddenly isn't so easy. Gone are the days when I can just jump in the car and drive to the beach, or see a footy match with mates, or get to a doctor’s appointment. Wheelchair accessible taxis are a huge part of my life now -- but with the taxi fare prices continuing to rise, and having limited income on Disability Support Pension, it's becoming too much and restricting my ability to participate in the community.
And here's why: despite NSW taxi prices becoming the most expensive in the country, the state government hasn't increased the Disability Taxi Subsidy since 1999.
I currently spend over 30% of my disability pension on taxis. I live in a share house with three other people with disability who use wheelchairs, so when considering the cost of rent, food, health, medical, telecommunications, water and power expenses, in conjunction with the extra unavoidable cost of having a disability that the general community does not have or understand, I can barely afford to get to work. Let alone the cost of trying to have some social inclusion, and to simply meet up with and/or see friends.
As a sports fan, I'd love to go to watch the Wallabies play at ANZ stadium, Homebush, but spending $180 to get to and from the match, isn't really a possibility considering my other expenses.
I'm meeting with Gladys Berejiklian, NSW Transport Minister, in April to try and convince her to increase the Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme dollar value and percentage that will benefit all people with disability who use taxis now and in the future.
Please sign my petition to help ensure she agrees!
Mark Tonga started this petition with a single signature, and now has 22,149 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.