The Nationals Leader and Member for Murray Plains, Peter Walsh, is encouraging everyone in rural and regional Victoria to participate in a new public inquiry into the use of school buses by the wider community.
Mr Walsh said the Legislative Council’s Economy and Infrastructure Committee inquiry is focused on whether the use of school buses in rural and regional areas should be expanded to give more members of the community access to travel.
“It is great to see this issue being looked at,” he said. “Members of many of our rural communities have little or no access to public transport; while some school buses have plenty of room for extra passengers.
“I am aware of many situations where young people have caught the school bus for years but are not able to continue to do so after they finish school to get to their new job or tertiary education, even though they are still too young to get a driver’s licence.
“If we can ensure child safety and school students are not disadvantaged in any way this may be an option that could work well for our community, giving residents access to at least some form of public transport.
“We need to hear feedback from the community on issues of student safety and the risks and rewards of allowing adults onto school buses.”
Mr Walsh encouraged all parents of current school bus users and potential users of the school bus to make a submission.
“This is your opportunity to have your say – please make a submission. The more information presented, the more beneficial the inquiry will be. I look forward to hearing the evidence brought forward and the views of the community.”
Public hearings will be held after submissions have been received and will hear from witnesses to gauge the views and experiences of people in rural and regional areas.
Submissions can be made via the Committee’s website www.parliament.vic.gov.au/eic-lc-article/4616.
The inquiry is set to hand down a final report before the end of this year.