Making seatbelts on country coaches mandatory is a bill before State Parliament this week. It is an issue that has worried parents of children travelling to school by bus.
Making seatbelts on country coaches mandatory is a bill before State Parliament this week. It is an issue that has worried parents of children travelling to school by bus. File

Buckle-up ruling to get some hurry-up

THE slow rate of progress the School Bus Safety Advisory Committee parliamentary committee has made during the past 18 months is getting a big hurry up.

A bill placed before State Parliament this week will make seatbelts mandatory on country coaches if passed.

This is good news for parents whose children travel to school by bus on the Pacific Hwy as well as on unsealed roads, such as those in the Orara Valley.

On top of the mandatory seatbelt rule, the NSW Greens also want to see introduced a "no standing in the aisles policy" on buses that travel on unsealed roads or travel at speeds of 80kmh or more.

Child safety on buses has been an issue local state member Andrew Fraser has fought for, and he has expressed amazement at some of the reports he has heard regarding incidents.

Greens MP Cate Faehrmann has called for the changes to be introduced by the third term of next year.

A report into seatbelts on school buses, compiled by the advisory committee, is before Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian.

The report calls for seatbelts to be made mandatory within 10 years; however, the Greens want that time limit cut to just five years.

Transport NSW estimates that phasing in seatbelts and a no-standing policy within five years would cost an estimated $55 million.

"It's simply taken way too long," Ms Faehrmann said.

"It's time to fast track the installation of seatbelts and the Greens' bill will provide that opportunity."



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