WA to lead the nation with seatbelts on all school buses
Premier Geoff Gallop today announced that seatbelts would be introduced on all school buses in Western Australia.
Dr Gallop said all new school buses would require seatbelts and the existing fleet would be retrofitted on a priority basis.
He said the cost of the new policy and a timetable for its implementation would be determined by the end of the year. However, the Government wanted the retrofitting completed as quickly as was practicable.
The new policy would see WA become the first State in the nation to make seatbelts mandatory for all school buses.
The Premier said that since the recent school bus crash in Baldivis, the State Government had begun re-examining the need for seatbelts on school buses.
Police advice in the wake of the October 21 crash - including comments by officers who attended the crash scene that seatbelts minimised the extent and number of injuries - had provided further impetus.
"The recent Baldivis bus crash highlighted the importance of seatbelts on buses," Dr Gallop said.
"We are responding to genuine concerns about our community's most important asset - our children.
"It will be a massive task, but we are up to the challenge of providing the safest school buses in the nation."
Dr Gallop said a detailed cost analysis would take place during the upcoming mid-year Budget Review.
He said Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan would take the proposal to the National Transport Council meeting on November 18.
The policy will apply to all dedicated school buses but not public transport buses and trains.
"The high number of people using these buses and trains and the frequent boarding and disembarking of passengers would make seatbelts on our metropolitan Transperth bus fleet completely impractical," Ms MacTiernan said.