Submission to the South Australian Public Transport – Women’s Action Plan (2021-2022)

Thank you for the opportunity to provide a submission to this important work. I commend the SA Government for establishing their first Public Transport Diversity and Inclusion Framework.

Middle Ground Motherhood (MGM) is a social enterprise that advocates for mother-centred communities by working with individuals and organisations to develop and advocate for programs, policy and planning that supports mothers and families to thrive.

Women transitioning through matrescence (the process of becoming a mother), have a unique set of considerations and challenges when using public transport. From pregnancy to old age, women who are mothers are more likely to experience discrimination and violence. They are often travelling with their children, as they undertake the vast majority of care. Becoming a mother impacts a range of key segments of a women’s life including economic, social, cultural and physical.

Therefore, it is imperative that mothers are considered a key cohort for the Women’s Action Plan. In terms of the initial key outcomes and objectives outlined in the Action Plan, these are obviously general in nature. It would be important for the next stage in the Plan’s development to include key measures regarding safety and amenity for public transport, developed in consultation with women from a variety of life experiences. This includes how public transport links to a range of related activities including work, school, early childhood care and education, cycling, walking, and driving, as well as between public transport types. Additionally it should recognise intersections with accessibility across a range of measures such as language, physical, cost etc. 

It’s important women’s lived experience is valued appropriately when government seeks input on policy development. Therefore, it would be appropriate for key groups of contributors to be compensated. Examples of this exist in other models of consultation and community engagement, including the City of Adelaide Access and Inclusion Advisory Panel and Local Government Development Assessment Panels.

Further to this, monitoring and reporting should be undertaken in partnership with an external party. In Victoria, She’s a Crowd has worked with the Department of Transport, utilising their data and gender expertise to inform transport policies and planning. She’s A Crowd collected over 1000 geo-locative stories and provided Department of Transport with 12 months access to their data insights delivery dashboard and data insights report.

Additionally, complaints and feedback should be directed through an appropriate partner agency who can adequately respond from a trauma-informed perspective and provide accountability, and ongoing analysis of the feedback being provided.

Currently workforce planning has not been addressed as part of the Plan. Women’s participation is important in achieving gender equity, therefore a plan to ensure employment opportunities within Adelaide Metro, should be included in the Plan. This would also extend to provision of parental leave, security of work and flexible work opportunities.

Emailed to DIT.PublicTransportInclusion@sa.gov.au 20 October 2021

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