Mr MORRIS (Mornington) — I rise this morning to again raise the issue of Balcombe Grammar School and in particular access for students to the public transport system for travel to school.
Earlier this year, by way of a constituency question, I raised the issue specifically that the increase in student numbers using the bus system had led to a series of incidents in which up to 20 students were denied access to the afternoon service from the school. The response received from the Minister for Education indicated, bizarrely, that while 230 students attending the school in 2015 were in receipt of a conveyance allowance payment, the number had fallen to 164 students in term 1 of 2016.
The response did not address in any way the circumstances which had led to as many as 20 students being regularly left to their own devices to find their way home. The minister did however indicate that he had referred the matter to the Minister for Public Transport for further response.
It appears the minister runs her office as well as she runs the public transport system, because almost nine months later I am still waiting.
Clearly, as the school year is about to conclude, I am not holding my breath for a response from the minister. However, I am concerned to ensure that this situation is not repeated next year.
Correspondence from the school indicates that the number of Balcombe Grammar students who rely on the public transport system will rise again in 2017. If further incidents of denial of service because of overcrowding are to be avoided, the government must take action now to plan services for the coming school year.
I call on the Minister for Public Transport to act immediately to ensure that access to the bus service for all Balcombe Grammar students is available at the commencement of the 2017 school year.
Legislative Assembly 7 December 2016