Euroa electorate school buses
21 June 2017
Ms RYAN (Euroa) — My adjournment matter tonight is for the Minister for Education, and the action I seek is a review of the capacity of school buses across my electorate but particularly around Tatong and routes going into the Wangaratta region. I would also like to request, pending the outcome of that review, an expansion of services to meet demand.
I would particularly like to raise for the minister's attention the bus from Bungeet to Wangaratta and the bus from Tatong to Greta Valley Primary School. I have been contacted by a number of families who are finding it difficult to access seats on school bus services on these routes due to over capacity. In the case of school buses in the Wangaratta region, I understand that two-thirds of the buses are actually at or over capacity, and the lack of availability created from that means families who already have one or more children on a school bus are not able to register their younger children on the same school bus.
In the example of Steven and Mardi James from Bungeet in my electorate, they tried this month to enrol their daughter on the Bungeet school bus for prep in Wangaratta next year, only to be told that there are no seats available. Mardi has not yet told her daughter, who is very excited about the prospect of travelling on the bus with her older brother, and she is quite concerned that she will face the same problem in 2020 when she is enrolling her younger daughter. Mardi is also aware of other families in the area who are facing the same issue and will face the same issue in coming years.
In Tatong I have a constituent, Larissa Montgomery, and other local families there who are facing similar issues. They drive their children between 15 and 20 kilometres daily to meet the school bus but have been informed, as have other families who enrol and who live close to the school, that Tatong students will be the first to be removed from the service when room runs out. I believe more needs to be done to address the capacity issues of regional school buses so that all families have equitable access to services and children in regional Victoria are not disadvantaged.