'Devastating' impact on families affected by school bus shortage: Brock

PROBLEM: Independent Frome MP Geoff Brock has highlighted a problem with the school bus system.

PROBLEM: Independent Frome MP Geoff Brock has highlighted a problem with the school bus system.

There are not enough school buses to go round in the Mid North, according to Independent Frome MP Geoff Brock.

“Students in my electorate have been left high and dry without transport to education after many were denied access or found ineligible to get on a bus,” he said.

“The impact on families is devastating.

“There is an outdated education department policy which needs to change urgently before children are severely disadvantaged from receiving their education.”

Mr Brock said parents had come to him with their concerns which included some seriously considering resigning from their jobs to be able to transport children to school.

“I have advocated for many years for the policy to be changed to allow for more equitable access to the school buses, but although it was reviewed by the previous government, it did not go far enough to accommodate students going to non-government schools,” he said.

Responding to a letter from Mr Brock, new Education Minister John Gardner said the Marshall Liberal government believed that fair and reasonable access to transport should be available to non-government school students in the country.

Mr Brock said that Mr Gardner had said it was an election commitment of the Liberal government to undertake a new review of the issue.

The local politician has been told that as of term one this year there are 10 school bus services provided by the department that travel into Clare High School from Auburn, Watervale, Mintaro, Spring Gully, Snowtown, Hilltown, Blyth, Spalding, Koolunga and Farrell Flat.

About 420 students are entitled to access the free bus service and 108 other students have approval to travel when seats are available.

Mr Brock said that of the 10 bus services, five had no spare seats and about a quarter of student travellers on these services are those who have been approved when spare seats were available.

“Of the 10 bus services, there are only 24 spare seats,” he said.

“I await the school bus review for this region as a matter of urgency and look forward to seeing a resolution which will see all regional students provided with fair and equitable access to a school bus service to take them to and from school.”

The Flinders News is seeking further comment from Mr Gardner.