In the Media

Kelly Vincent – 5AA Interview on Bicycle Regulations and Elder Abuse Inquiry

On 26th October 2015, Dignity for Disability MLC Kelly Vincent was interviewed on radio station 5AA to discuss the new cycling regulations, in particular the changes to cycling on footpaths. Kelly Vincent also discussed the Social Development Committee’s plans to inquire into elder abuse. Here is the transcript from the interview.

Andrew Reimer: Now we had Fay just a moment ago talking about the bike laws and rules and all that sort of business and MLC Dignity for Disability Kelly Vincent, your ears would have been burning. Fay was just talking about you a moment ago, talking about the fact that she had a meeting with you last week.

Kelly Vincent: Yes well it was a very productive conversation that we held with a number of representatives, particularly from organisations representing people who are blind or vision-impaired, also deaf or hard of hearing because there are a lot of concerns about these new regulations, particularly allowing people to ride on the footpath. Because firstly people who do have a sensory impairment might not be as readily able to see someone coming along a footpath and therefore might feel a bit vulnerable. So we did have a very productive conversation, and I have to say I think, I certainly felt that ultimately we all agree that it’s important to keep cyclists safe. But there is a need for more education for cyclists about making sure that they’re on the lookout for people who might be blind or vision-impaired, or might not be able to hear them coming. And, so there is a need for more education about what cyclists need to be aware of if they are going to be cycling on the footpath. So we’ll certainly take that conversation and make sure that the Government does promote the need for cyclists to be aware of these user groups.

Andrew Reimer: It’s going to be interesting. We’ve got an educational period, we’re speaking to senior Constable Rebecca Stokes from SAPOL media this evening and police are putting in a three month educational period and before we start looking at fines, unless I’ve imagined this very serious instances of people flouting the new laws, there’s going to be three months where they’re not going to be given fines or anything along those sort of lines, they’ll just be given warnings and being taught how to implement those new rules.

Kelly Vincent: Well I think it’s important to remember that cycling on the footpath is already legal for everyone in I think it’s at least three states in Australia, and generally I think the laws are working very well, particularly in keeping cyclists safe. You have to remember that cyclists are dying on our roads and so we need to make a situation where everybody can use the public spaces that our taxes go towards safely. And, so I think that the more education and the more that cyclists are aware of those particular users that they need to be aware of, whether it be elderly people or people who have a sensory impairment, or even a physical impairment in particular, then I think that would equate to everyone being able to use the roads and the footpaths more safely. So I think certainly from that conversation there were some angles that the Government perhaps hadn’t necessarily considered. So it was great to see some representatives from the Department of Transport there to make sure that they are aware of these issues so that we can move forward towards keeping everyone safe.

Andrew Reimer: Yes, everyone was there except for the Minister who is implementing these changes.

Kelly Vincent: Well we certainly have a busy schedule, but as I said, there were representatives from his Department and his office there so I’m sure that they’ll pass that information on to him. Certainly from my end I certainly will make sure that that happens.

Andrew Reimer: Now the elder abuse inquiry you’ve set out for the social development committee. What‘s the latest stand?

Kelly Vincent: We’ve been successful with unanimous support from departments to set up an inquiry looking into the abuse of older Australians, be it financial, physical, emotional or psychological or any other form of abuse. Because unfortunately it’s not uncommon for our office to hear issues of older people either feeling very isolated, under pressure to give money or other resources to family members or other people in their lives or indeed being physically and psychologically abused. So we think it’s very important that the Parliament has a space to look into this issue very seriously and to look into what are the forms of abuse that older people in South Australia are experiencing. What supports are they seeking to speak out about that abuse and also what’s stopping them from speaking out about that abuse. So we’ve got a very broad term of reference that we’ll put forward to the social development committee of which I’m a member, probably later next year, sadly next year, we’ll look into this. And, hopefully give people who are either experiencing abuse or have experienced abuse or feel that they might be susceptible to abuse, a safe space to come forward and talk about what’s happening to them, and how we can improve on the safeguards that exist already.

Andrew Reimer: So, people who want to report the different forms of abuse, best way to contact you or Dignity for Disability, what do they do?

Kelly Vincent: Well certainly this formal inquiry won’t get up, in terms of the Social Development Committee until next year, but until then of course we’re happy to hear any stories where they might feel that they need help or support, and they can contact my office on 8237 9543 or on email, vincent.office@parliament.sa.gov.au.

Andrew Reimer: Alright. You got a busy week in front of you Kelly?

Kelly Vincent: Always. Parliament’s sitting this week, so late nights as the parliament, starts to wrap up for the year and people start to get through the issues they need to get through before the end of the year, but that’s life. So another busy weekend.

Andrew Reimer: That’s life. Darryn Hinch he’s started up his own political party now be interesting to see how that goes.

Kelly Vincent: Indeed. All the best.