Pollies buckle on bus belt issue

ORGANISERS of Thursday’s Belt Up for Safety (BUS) rally say they were disappointed with the responses of the two major political parties in ensuring the safety of children on rural school buses.

“We are profoundly disappointed with the statements we received from the Nationals and the ALP,” organiser Christabel Wright said.

“Both say they are either assessing routes or will do so.

“There have already been so many assessments. The kids are back at school from next week – this situation is not acceptable.”

Ms Wright said the Greens were the only ones committed to fitting all rural and regional school buses with three point seat belts.

Organisers said they were particularly disappointed with the statement from Andrew Stoner, the member for Oxley, leader of the NSW Nationals and shadow minister for roads, who had previously voiced his support for the issue.

In his statement he wrote: “We believe the government must allow for greater input from communities working alongside transport experts.

“If elected the NSW Liberals and Nationals will immediately establish a Community Advisory Committee to work with the government in determining implementation plans to improve safety for children travelling on high-risk routes. We would allocate $50,000 over two years for this.”

The ALP said it was currently assessing school bus routes and looking at individual local routes to see what should be done.

“The review is not due to be released until July – that is after the election,” Ms Wright said.

“Meanwhile this area has some of the worst routes in the country and all we are asking is for $8 million to ensure our kids are safe.”

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