Emerson dishes homework

Queensland’s Bus Safety committee emerged from today’s meeting with the state’s transport minister with work to do

Emerson dishes homework
Emerson dishes homework

By David Goeldner | June 1, 2012

Queensland’s new Transport Minister Scott Emerson has dished out ‘homework’ for members of the state’s Bus Safety Committee, not convinced enough was being done to make a child safety principle work free from current community misuse.

A spokesperson for Emerson says the Minister remains committed to the ‘No Child Left Behind’ principle, but asked Bus Safety Committee delegates, in particular representatives of TransLink and Brisbane City Council, to go away from the June 1 meeting and come back with recommendations to make the principle more effective.

"The Minister remains committed to the principle, but it needs a coordinated approach with drivers, councils, schools and also at the policy end – Government," the spokesperson says.

The ‘No Child Left Behind’ principle results from the disappearance of Sunshine Coast school student Daniel Morcombe in 2003 while waiting for a bus.

Since Morcombe’s disappearance, his parents Bruce and Denise established the Daniel Morcombe Foundation, which has continued to lobby government for a no child left behind policy to be implemented across Queensland.

While the principle is not Government ‘policy’, sections of the school student travelling community see it as such.

Recent evidence furnished to the Transport Minister has uncovered widespread community rorting of the principle where school students are refusing to pay the fare saying they ‘can’t be left behind’.

According to anecdotal evidence submitted to the Queensland Department of Transport, the most common name used by students who don’t pay the fare when asked for their ID is ‘Donald Duck’.

Emerson says he agrees with the 'no child left behind' principle, however to stop the ‘rorting’ the system needs improved management.

Queensland Bus Industry Council Executive Director David Tape is encouraged by the outcomes from the Minister’s meeting.

"I do believe we have a Minister that is committed to resolving issues we have on our buses, including the safety of our drivers and our passengers," Tape says.

He says the Bus Safety Committee meeting laid the foundation for QBIC to walk hand in hand with the Queensland Government and its departments to solve the issues of safety on the state’s buses.

Also at the meeting, Emerson pledged to beef up security on the troubled Gold Coast public transport network, a region which has seen its bus driving pool virtually ‘under attack’ by violent passengers over the past 12 months.

Emerson says the message is simple.

"If you play up on public transport you will be caught and you will be punished," he says.

In coming months, TransLink Transit Officers and Senior Network Officers will be conducting a blitz targeting fare evasion and anti-social behaviour on-board Gold Coast public transport.

"Regardless of age, if you are caught, you will face the consequences and offenders may face a possible ban from public transport or potentially criminal charges," Emerson says.

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