Victorian travel subsidy cuts reversed

The Victorian Government has backflipped on its decision to means test Victorian families for a student travel subsidy

By Sean Muir | December 4, 2012

The Victorian Government has backflipped on its decision to means test Victorian families for
a student travel subsidy.

The government announced in October changes to travel subsidies for students attending schools in outer Melbourne and country areas.

Families were told most students currently receiving the conveyance allowance would not be affected under new geographic boundaries determining eligibility.

But the changes would have affected students beginning primary or secondary school in 2013, when the allowance was to be means tested.

However, after public uproar the government announced late last week the decision to means test families would be reversed.

"Despite the generous grandfathering arrangements included with the announcement to assist with the transition of changes, communities and families who don’t consider themselves rich felt these changes would impact on them unfairly," Victorian Education Minister Martin Dixon says.

According to Nixon, Independent Schools Victoria (ISV) and the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria (CECV) also expressed grave concerns
for schools and local bus services.

BusVic Executive Director Chris Lowe says the decision reversal is common sense, but does not address problems with new geographic boundaries.

"The government are yet to give sufficient attention to the parents and students who relied upon the prospect of receiving the conveyance allowance as of 2013 in their deciding where to live," he says.

"As of 2013, those students and parents now need to re-think how they are going to get their children to and from school as they will not be eligible for the conveyance allowance as their school is now considered part of metropolitan Melbourne.

"If the government had thought this policy through adequately, they will have realised that they need to make sufficient supply provisions to satisfy the increase in demand for school bus and route bus services."

Lowe says BusVic has been inundated with calls from parents and schools concerned about the policy change.

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