The Western Australian government has announced that it has made changes to the state’s School Bus Service eligibility conditions ahead of the 2024 school year.
These improvements follow the release of the Bus Fair report, which was conducted in 2023 and provided a list of proposed tweaks from the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee after extensive community consultation.
The WA government says these changes broaden the eligibility of families able to receive transport assistance, giving families more flexibilities and choice when it comes to planning their children’s schooling.
Key changes made include allowing students to attend either their nearest district or senior high school rather than just their closest school and more flexibility for social and community factors to be considered when applying for transport assistance.
The changes also allow eligible students to receive transport assistance to travel to a regional town to attend their selected school.
“The state government receives thousands of applications each year from parents of children who need to catch an orange school bus to and from school, and it’s important we listen to these parents when it comes to how we can best meet their needs,” WA transport minister Rita Saffioti says.
“Following extensive community consultation as part of the recent Student Transport Assistance Policy framework review, changes will be made to eligibility conditions in time for the 2024 school year.
“This will help give regional families more flexibility when considering schooling options for their children.”
Saffioti says further consideration is also being given to other recommendations coming from the review, with the results of these to be released over the coming months.
The Department of Education has advised to rollout the new eligibility conditions over the next 12 months to provide the department time to assess long-term impacts on certain schools.
“School buses are an important and valued service for students and their families,” WA education minister Tony Buti says.
“These changes are designed to ensure regional school bus services continue to meet their needs, so that every young person in our state can access a high-quality education.”