LISMORE MP Janelle Saffin has asked NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway to revisit safety issues at Lismore’s downtown school bus interchange, given the displacement of schools and students due to the flood almost a year ago.
Ms Saffin says she has written to Minister Farraway about improving security at the interchange on the corner of Leycester and Hindmarsh streets, which by default, used to be supervised by staff at nearby Trinity Catholic College.
“Since Trinity was flooded out and forced to relocate to Southern Cross University’s East Lismore, there is no longer a presence at the interchange, resulting in a distinct lack of supervision and therefore safety at this site,” Ms Saffin says.
“Other issues identified are a lack of water and bathroom facilities, which optimally should be accessible for school kids making their way to and from school, where they have to wait for periods of time.
“Since Trinity’s relocation there have been several incidents – one involving violence and a young student being admitted to hospital – and there are fears of escalating issues if this matter is not attended to urgently.”
Ms Saffin says another matter needing urgent attention is the need to reconsider post-flood bus routes, pick-up and drop-off points and the number of available buses.
“I am told there have been instances where a bus with a seating capacity of 50 has been forced to accommodate up to 90 students as otherwise the additional kids would not have been able to get home from school,” Ms Saffin says.
“Our schools, principals, families and students are desperate. They have been making do, like the rest of the Lismore community, in the wake of the flood but 12 months on it is time to help resume some normality and get services back to their pre-flood state.
“It is not just a matter of comfort, it is a matter of safety and leaving things as they are is risking and impacting the community’s physical and mental health.”
Ms Saffin has asked Minister Farraway to arrange a meeting between all the impacted schools in Lismore – which is most, if not all of them – along with Transport for NSW, local bus companies, parents and P&Cs, to improve school transport systems, infrastructure and services.