School bus review lagging, says Frome MP Geoff Brock

Member for Frome Geoff Brock, pictured, asked the state government for an update on the school bus policy review in parliament in September.

Member for Frome Geoff Brock, pictured, asked the state government for an update on the school bus policy review in parliament in September.

School students who have been punished by not being allowed to board a school bus because they have gone to the 'wrong' school, have grown up and entered the workforce since Member for Frome Geoff Brock has been lobbying the state government for equity for all students to ride a bus to the school of their choice.

Mr Brock has been asking for a review of the Department of Education School Transport Policy to allow students, no matter where they live or which school they attend, to board a school bus.

"This is a critical issue in rural areas, where buses pass by rural properties but are not allowed to pick up students who may attend private schools or a different government school than the one closest to them," he said.

"As a result, parents and caregivers have to leave their on farm work, or make special arrangements on their way to their jobs to get their children to their school of choice using private transport. This is inequitable."

Mr Brock has been lobbying the government on the issue since 2013 and again asked a question in parliament in September.

Education Minister John Gardner was asked to update the progress of the review of the regional school bus policy which was completed in February this year.

"The minister's response was frustrating in that it spoke of the continued delay in a decision being made," Mr Brock said.

"I appreciate that the review is being widened to include the possibility of using school buses for the broader community, but the simple matter of ticking a box to give all school students the right to access a bus should not be subject to such a long delay."

The simple matter of ticking a box to give all school students the right to access a bus should not be subject to such a long delay

Geoff Brock, Frome MP

There are more than 430 school bus routes for students throughout regional South Australia which are used by about 14.600 students.

In parliament, Mr Gardner said the school bus policy review had an enormous level of interest from people around regional South Australia.

"I appreciate the frustration of not just the Member for Frome but potentially more particularly families of school communities across South Australia who are looking forward to seeing not just the review but any potential policy implications that might be drawn from the review," he said.

"There were in fact many, many more people who wanted to make submissions and come and talk to the reviewers than we had anticipated. It is a complex area, to be sure, and there are complex financial considerations that go beyond just the needs of bus routes and regional communities."