Inner West Independent

Opposition leader cuts ribbon on community bus service in the Inner West

Anthony Albanese, MP, Member for Grayndler, cuts the ribbon of the new bus alongside Shikha Chowdray, CEO ECSC; Mark McEnearney, TransGrid; ECSC employee and Vivi Koutsoundadis, Founder ECSC. Photo: Supplied

By ALLISON HORE

Anthony Albanese, federal opposition leader and member for Grayndler, has cut the ribbon on a new community bus service in the Inner West. 

The new bus will be used by Marrickville-based not-for-profit organisation Ethnic Community Services Co-Operative (ECSC) who provide multilingual services for culturally and linguistically diverse people in the area. 

They develop programs for children, families, people with disability, the aged and carers and the bus will help organisation staff transport project participants to and from services. ECSC CEO, Shikha Chowdhary, said having a bus would help the organisation reach more people in the area. 

“The new bus will help the ECSC provide more local services to local people,” she said.

Ms. Chowdhary said the organisation has been providing services to local people for 41 years, but this is the first time they have had a bus to assist with transportation. The bus will benefit 70 to 80 Inner West residents each week including children with disabilities and people over 65.

“It’ll be a great help in getting our NDIS and aged care participants and all members of our co-op safely and easily to community access and social support programs,” she explained.

The new bus with : Shikha Chowdray, CEO ECSC, Mark McEnearney, TransGrid, Anthony Albanese, MP, Member for Grayndler. Photo: Supplied

Bus launched

Launching the bus on Wednesday was federal opposition leader, Anthony Albanese. He called the new bus “a win for all involved” and said “it’s the community work that makes a difference.” 

Electricity company, TransGrid, provided $50,000 in funding for the bus as part of their Community Partnership Program. The program provides funding for organisations in areas where TransGrid’s assets are located or under development.

Currently TransGrid is carrying out construction in the Inner West as part of their “Powering Sydney’s Future project” through which a new 20 kilometre underground cable will be installed between Potts Hill and Alexandria. The project, which began in mid-2020, is scheduled for completion this year. 

Mr. Albanese explained TransGrid approached him about not-for-profit organisations in the area whose activities might be disrupted by the works and were in need of assistance.

“When TransGrid advised me of the works that would affect my electorate, they sought my suggestions for community partnerships that would assist local residents that may be disrupted,” he said.

“I immediately referred them to ECSC who had approached me for assistance with their transport needs.”

The ECSC was one of 28 organisations to receive a share of $173,343 in funding, through TransGrid’s partnership program. 

“We are really pleased to make these donations to local groups across TransGrid’s network and we hope they make a difference to people living in the communities they serve,” said Executive Manager of Major Projects Sean McGoldrick.

During 2020, the ECSC provided services to the diverse Inner West community in over 120 languages, including some Indigenous languages. Despite the ongoing pandemic, the organisation continued its vital services for children, the elderly and people with disabilities.

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