Western Australia Minister for Transport Simon O’Brien
Western Australia Minister for Regional Development Brendon Grylls
Outdated Air Conditioning Restrictions On Orange School Buses Lifted
Victor P Taffa
The Liberal-National Government has allocated more than $10 Million in the State Budget to ensure that the vast majority of school children who use the ‘orange’ bus service across regional Western Australia will from July 1, 2010 have unrestricted access to air conditioning on their service.
From sound economic management, the State Government has been able to deliver a Budget to benefit all in the community.
At present, orange school bus contractors in some parts of the State are only paid to operate their air conditioning units on a set number of days a year, irrespective of the temperature at other times. Contractors in the South-West of the State are not paid to operate it at all.
Transport Minister Simon O’Brien and Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls said in future all school bus contractors would be paid to operate their air conditioning all year. The Government also announced that every new bus acquired as part of a Public Transport Authority’s school bus contract would have air-conditioning and automatic transmission fitted as standard.
“Before the last election, the Liberal-National Government gave an undertaking to ensure that all new school buses coming into service would be of the highest standard. We are proud to be delivering on this promise.” Mr. O’Brien said.
“Not only will this make the journey more comfortable for students but along with the standardisation of automatic transmissions should greatly facilitate the driver retention and recruitment, especially in small rural towns which do not have big labour forces.”
Mr. Grylls said the revised position on air conditioning was much more equitable than the existing arrangement in which some children in WA had access to air conditioning on their school bus while others did not.
“Buses which do not currently have air conditioning units and which meet certain criteria will have them retro-fitted at no cost to the contractor.” Mr. Grylls said.
Mr. Grylls said the Government would remove another historical anomaly by paying the full cost rather than a capped amount of approved school bus accessories, such as bull bars.
“This important program is another example of the Royalties for Regions program delivering enhanced infrastructure and services to country WA.” Mr. Grylls said.