School Bus Safety Concerns to be Aired at Community Forums
Port Stephens residents will come together on Monday and Tuesday evening to voice their concerns about local school bus services.
Following a shocking start to the school year, Port Stephens MP Kate Washington will host meetings in Medowie and Tanilba Bay to hear directly from parents and high school students about their school bus experiences.
Overcrowding, missed services, and safety concerns about students standing on buses at high speeds are common concerns amongst local parents.
Tanilba Bay father Stephen Kirk has described the local school bus service as an accident waiting to happen, telling local media "Anyone who's standing up in a collision is going to die, no question about it. It's Russian roulette.”
Mr Kirk has started a petition of local parents and will be attending the Tanilba Bay meeting on Tuesday night.
In 2012 a Parliamentary Committee recommended that seat belts be added to school buses in rural and regional areas, however most of Port Stephens is excluded from the ‘regional’ definition despite buses travelling at high speeds along Nelson Bay Road, Richardson Road and others.
Local bus companies and a representative of the Transport Minister have been invited to attend the meeting and hear directly from local parents.
Medowie School Buses Community Meeting Medowie Christian School 6pm - Monday 19 March
Tilligerry School Buses Community Meeting Tilligerry RSL, Tanilba Bay
6pm - Tuesday 20 March
Quotes attributable to Kate Washington MP
“Parents in Port Stephens should not fear for the safety of their children when they step onto a school bus. But sadly, with the history of accidents, ongoing overcrowding and no seat belts, parents are very concerned.
“This year we have had reports of buses being so crowded that children have been left behind. This is simply not good enough.
“I’m holding these meetings to give parents an opportunity to raise their concerns in the hope that we can see change which will make our kids safer.
“If the Berejiklian government won’t build us a high school in Medowie, they should at least keep our kids safe whilst they are travelling to and from school.”
This item was distributed as a media release on Friday 16 March 2018.