School Bus Service Needs Review

There are not enough school buses to go round and students in the Frome electorate have been left high and dry without transport to education after many were denied access or found ineligible to get on a bus.

“The impact this basic transport issue is having on families is devastating,” Member for Frome Geoff Brock  MP said.

“There is an outdated Department of Education and Community services policy which needs to change urgently before children are severely disadvantaged from receiving their education.

Mr Brock said parents had come to him with their concerns which included some seriously considering resigning from their jobs in order to be able to transport children to school.

“I have been advocating for many years for the DECS Policy to be changed to allow for more equitable access to the school buses, but although the Policy was reviewed by the last Government it did not go far enough to accommodate students going to non-government schools,” he said.

Responding to a recent letter from Mr Brock, new Minister for Education John Gardner MP said the Marshall Government believed that fair and reasonable access to transport should be available to non-government school students in the country.

Minister Gardner said it was an election commitment of the Liberal Government to undertake a new review of the issue.

Mr Brock has been informed that as of Term 1, 2018, there are 10 school bus services provided by the department that travel into Clare High School from Auburn, Watervale, Mintaro, Spring Gully, Snowtown, Hilltown, Blyth, Spalding, Koolunga and Farrell Flat.

Currently 419 eligible students are entitled to access the free bus service and 108 other students have approval to travel where there are seats available.

Of the 10 bus services, five have no spare seats and about 25% of student travellers on these services are those that have been approved when spare seats were available. Of the 10 bus services, there are only 24 spare seats.

“I await the school bus review for this region as a matter of urgency and look forward to seeing a resolution which will see all regional students provided with fair and equitable access to a school bus service to take them to and from school,” Mr Brock said.