Bus driver homicide investigation

The Australian bus industry and the general public was shocked and saddened by the fatal assault on a bus driver in Brisbane last week.

Bus driver homicide investigation
An investigation is now underway into what could have been done to reduce the likelihood of assaults on bus drivers, such as the recent incident in Brisbane.

Many bus drivers around Australia wore black arm bands in a show of solidarity for the deceased driver as they carried out their duties on the day after the incident.

There was no apparent motive for the killing of bus driver Manmeet Alisher at the hands of the accused Anthony O'Donohue who has been charged with murder, arson and eleven counts of attempted murder, whose case will be heard later this month.

Queensland minister for health and minister for ambulance services Cameron Dick says the appropriateness of the mental health treatment received by the accused prior to the incident will be examined.

"On behalf of all Queenslanders, I extend my sympathy to the family, friends and colleagues of Mr Sharma, and my thanks to the Queensland Ambulance Service and Queensland Health staff for their swift and effective response to the incident," he says.

"Given the very serious nature of this incident I believe it is appropriate that there be an independent external investigation into the treatment provided within the health system to the accused. It is expected that this investigation will be completed within eight weeks."

The incident has raised the issue of bus driver safety, and highlighted the need for states to investigate the need for driver protection screens and other safety measures that might help protect metropolitan route service drivers.

A TransLink spokesperson says the organisation was deeply saddened and shocked by the terrible event that took place on a Brisbane Transport bus.

"Our bus drivers are highly-valued members of the TransLink family and our thoughts are with the colleagues, family and friends of the driver and with all who have been affected by this tragic incident."

Queensland minister for transport Stirling Hinchliffe says everyone has the right to a safe work environment.

"Our community has been rocked by this tragic event," he says.

"Public transport staff are the frontline of the services that keep our cities moving. Drivers make our bus services. Friday’s attack was shocking and senseless and we must take steps to ensure that the safety of staff is strengthened. There is a tradition in Queensland that when we leave a bus, we say 'thank you, driver'. It’s a small gesture but one that goes to the very character of our state. I ask you to check-in and thank our drivers; to acknowledge their contributions and work."

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