Education Minister Grace Grace and Transport Minister Mark Bailey have directed their departments to issue urgent advice to educators and bus operators about the safety of children on buses.
The directive comes after a police investigation was launched yesterday into the tragic death of a three-year old boy on a privately-run childcare bus service in Edmonton
Ms Grace said while we don’t yet know the circumstances of what has occurred in Edmonton, the message to all drivers and operators was clear.
“Look before you lock,” she said.
“It’s a simple practice that just has to be followed.”
Ms Grace said the Department of Education had issued an alert late last year, outlining the five steps needed to be taken by drivers and operators to ensure children were not left unattended.
“There have been too many incidents of children being left behind on buses in the past year,” she said.
“These incidents have left families devastated and shaken the confidence of staff and their wider school communities.
“Parents need to have peace of mind that when they send their children off to school, kindy or day care, they will come home safe.”
Mr Bailey warned one shortcut on safety could have life-long consequences.
“The vast majority of bus operators and drivers are professionals who acknowledge their duty of care and take safety extremely seriously,” Mr Bailey said.
“Every driver of a bus has an obligation to make sure every passenger is safe and accounted for, especially children.
“If you’re driving, then it is up to you to walk then entire length of that bus and check for passengers before you lock up.”
Mr Bailey said the Directors-Generals of the Education and Transport and Main Roads Departments had convened an urgent meeting to develop actions for addressing the safety of children on buses.
Minister for Education and Minister for Industrial Relations
The Honourable Grace Grace
Minister for Transport and Main Roads
The Honourable Mark Bailey