School Bus Advisory Committee (SBAC) act in an advisory role to SBS in relation to rural contract school bus services; providing recommendations in accordance with transport assistance policy, information about local circumstances; and consider applications relating to transport assistance, including:
- Applications for student transport assistance.
- Applications for modifications to routes (spurs, extensions).
- Advice regarding the students wishing to travel as complimentary passengers.
- In situations relating to safety, SBAC have authority to approve temporary action to ensure the safe transport of students. However, any such action must be reported to SBS within 48 hours of it being taken, and should not be continued beyond the 48 hour period unless permission to do so has been obtained from SBS.
SBS encourages SBAC to be actively involved in the implementation and delivery of transport assistance, particularly in cases of multiple services, schools and contractors, and where there are issues of concern to the local community.
However, because the Government’s policies on transport assistance are intended to promote a system that is equitably applied across the State, the policies must be applied as uniformly and as rigorously as possible – consequently, the approval of transport assistance outside the existing policy framework should be made only in exceptional circumstances.
SBAC must consider applications for transport assistance carefully, and closely scrutinise any requests that appear to be outside policy. Generally, applicants who cannot be granted transport assistance because they do not come within policy will be informed that their request cannot be approved.
All recommendations made by SBACs are subject to approval and audit by SBS.
All positions on SBACs are voluntary and unpaid, and the Committees should, where possible, be comprised of:
- Parents of eligible students who attend the schools serviced by the routes.
- Representatives of the schools serviced by the routes.
- A representative of the local government authority, council or shire (ideally, a person responsible for or involved with roads or engineering).
- SBAC may include additional, invited members who may attend as observers and may offer advice to the SBAC, but who are not eligible to vote or hold office in the SBAC.
Such passive members may, for example, include:
- A contractor or driver from a contract service.
- A representative from the SBS.
- Government representatives from relevant departments or agencies (DET, Main Roads, Police Service, Disability Services Commission).
- Community representatives.