Western Australia Minister for Education Elizabeth Constable
School Bus Fleet Safety Upgrade Completed Five Years Ahead Of Schedule
Victor P Taffa
Early completion of a $22 Million drive to replace the fleet of public school-owned buses without seatbelts has improved the safety of students.
Visiting Leeming Senior High School today, Western Australia Minister for Education Liz Constable said more than 150 school buses owned by the Department of Education had been replaced over the last few years with new buses fitted with seatbelts in time for the start of the school year.
Dr. Constable said a commitment had been made in 2005 to fit all buses used to transport public school students with seatbelts by 2015. The Minister said today that the entire fleet of public school-owned buses was now compliant with the legislation, five years ahead of schedule.
“The Department of Education fast-tracked the program with the safety of students foremost in mind.” Dr. Constable said.
“Western Australia is the first State in the nation to make seatbelts mandatory for buses used to transport public school students.”
“The new buses – some of which replaced vehicles that were up to 40 years old – were distributed to public schools around the State in time for the start of this school year.”
“Parents can be assured that students using these buses will be transported in safety and comfort.” Dr. Constable said.
76 new buses were provided to public schools in the metropolitan area, with 78 supplied to regional schools, agricultural colleges and residential student hostels. Buses are generally used to transport students for school activities such as excursions and camps.
School bus safety came into the spotlight in the aftermath of a serious crash in Baldivis in late 2005. The bus, owned by a private school in Mandurah, collided with a truck and the 27 students on board were saved by their seatbelts.
While Western Australia has learnt from past failures and installed seat belts on school buses the situation in New South Wales defies logic.
On the one hand the Nation’s most populous State rejects on a consistent basis the compulsory installation of seat belts on school buses and on the other hand the very same people also install 40 Km/h speed zones and cameras outside every New South Wales school and then maintain that the school zone cameras “Are not for revenue raising.”
How can the Western Australia Government protect its school students properly while the New South Wales Government does not?
Why wouldn’t the revenue generated from speed camera fines be allocated towards the installation of seat belts in New South Wales school buses?