Member for Roe, Peter Rundle, has welcomed the final report of the Student Transport Assistance Policy framework Inquiry which was tabled today.
“Over the past 12 months, every one of the members of the Public Accounts Committee has worked incredibly hard to understand and resolve the issues that have plagued this important government service for so many years.
“Two of the most difficult issues we as a committee had to resolve were around the policies of the nearest appropriate school, and the communication issues between parents, contractors and School Bus Services. The committee has taken into account the social, economic, financial and community factors to recommend a degree of flexibility to families who live a similar distance from two or more schools.
“The committee recognised the need for this flexibility which I am sure families will appreciate as it often causes a lot of angst.
“The committee has recommended that the rules around the nearest appropriate school provide more flexibility for those in School Bus Services to apply some common sense and empathy to their decisions as well as the recommendation for a complaints process,” Mr Rundle said.
“Open and positive communication channels with School Bus Services are critical to the success of any issue which is raised by parents and/or schools. I am pleased the committee emphasised the need for those involved in working through the issues to be able to work constructively for the best outcome.”
While the final report has covered the issues well, Mr Rundle has felt the need to release a Minority Report which expresses his concerns about the contract system for bus owners and operators.
“My Minority Report states the need for Evergreen Contracts to be maintained. The reason for this is outlined in the report, however in short, I think the evergreen model reflects the circumstances of regional businesses most accurately.
“Regional bus services are small to medium businesses owned by operators in the towns they service. The owners and drivers know the families, know the local environment and have always worked with the schools to ensure the safety and welfare of the children on their runs.
“I was pleased the Committee saw fit to maintain the relocation of current contracts. It has worked so well for so long, I see no need to change this unique system for the sake of a government policy”.