Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, has asked the Education Minister to review a proposal to terminate the Briagolong Primary School’s one and only bus service, saying it would have a “devastating impact” on the community.
Mr Bull said the school was told it was not meeting the requirements to maintain the service, specifically to have eight or more students who reside further than 4.8 kilometres from the school, using the bus.
“This is the classic example of hard and fast regulations not taking into account local issues and country communities,” Mr Bull told Parliament.
“A number of the bus-travelling students are the children of parents who work outside of the township or are from single-parent families, so they rely on the bus.”
Mr Bull said access was also a problem, with walking paths in the area not constructed, meaning children would be left to walk for a number of kilometres on main roads should the bus service be removed.
Of the school’s 101 students, 15 are enrolled to use the bus, this number ranging between 13 and 20 over the past five years.
“Only five of these 15 students that use the bus live further than 4.8km from the school, which is the required distance for a student to be eligible to catch the bus,” Mr Bull said.
“The other students from within the 4.8km radius use the bus as the seats are available, which is standard practice.
“However, the extenuating circumstances are that of the other 10 students from within the 4.8km mark, the nearest family is 2.4km from the school. This is too far to walk.
“From both the angles of safety and common sense, I ask the Minister to review this situation with a view of maintaining the Briagolong school bus service for the 15 children who require it.”
The Minister has 30 days to respond to Mr Bull.
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, with Sandra Dekkers, a concerned parent whose child currently uses the Briagolong Primary School bus service.
Wednesday, August 16, 2017