Coalition would fix bus seatbelts
ANDREW Stoner says a Coalition government would not side-step the important issue of seatbelts on school buses.
Criticism of the Coalition plan to establish a Community Advisory Committee did not deter Mr Stoner, the Nationals’ leader and member for Oxley, who said the matter was very complex and potentially very costly.
“Firstly we are calling on the NSW Government to release its long-awaited review into rural bus routes. We need to see this document and then we need to take it to parents and industry groups,” Mr Stoner said.
“When we have all the information then we can ascertain the risk and work through what and where the priorities are and how much it will cost.”
Mr Stoner said in order to have all the documents, the Coalition needed to be in government.
“Be assured we will undertake to resolve this if there is a change of government.”
He said the Coalition did not want to see any children injured or lives lost while travelling at high speed on school buses.
Belt Up for Safety (BUS) campaigner Dr Tony Redmond said the group had estimated it would only cost $8 million to put seatbelts on the most dangerous routes in NSW by January next year.
“The Government and Opposition say it is too expensive, but what of the human cost – just one crash would damage so many lives,” Dr Redmond said.
On a federal level, the Howard government’s 2007 $40 million initiative to retro-fit school buses with seat belts has now dwindled to $14.7 million due to the program being heavily under-subscribed. Only 217 buses have so far been fitted with belts out of an original estimate of 1600.
He said $8.3 million remained for this financial year with another $6.4 million on offer next year, the final year of the scheme.