With respect to providing transport assistance to rural students, attending mainstream schools, the SBS branch:
- Negotiates and administers contracts relating to the use of contract school buses to provide transport for students to schools and education facilities, and remunerates contractors for such services.
- Provides direction and advice on the selection, construction, modification and maintenance of contract school buses according to the specifications required at law and by SBS.
- Inspects contract school buses and follows up any queries resulting from vehicle inspections.
- Ensures that contract services and routes are safe, cost efficient and regularly maintained.
- Supports and guides School Bus Advisory Committees (SBACs) in applying the Government’s policies on transport assistance for students.
- Considers recommendations from SBACs. Reviews approved routes to determine whether the level of service could be provided more efficiently, and informs SBACs of route changes that may improve the service or reduce the cost to Government.
- Advises the Minister responsible for the PTA on matters relating to transport assistance for students.
- Supervises the payment of conveyance allowances.
- Maintains policies relating to the provision of transport assistance.
- Develops procedures covering the operational aspects of providing transport assistance.
In addition to the above functions, SBS has specific responsibilities with respect to transport assistance made available to students attending education support facilities, including:
- Considering and approving requests for the appointment of bus aides.
- Considering and approving requests for the transport of students to respite centres or for home-based respite or foster care.
- Supervising the construction, modification and maintenance of safety and restraint equipment installed on education support vehicles.
Vehicle inspection program
All vehicles used as contract school buses are subject to ongoing mechanical safety inspections, which are conducted by a team of qualified SBS vehicle inspectors.
All inspections are carried out in accordance with relevant vehicle standard regulations, australian design rules, the school bus specifications established by SBS and set out in the service contract, and the Approved Inspection Stations Scheme.
Members of SBS’s vehicle inspection team:
- Inspect all vehicles proposed for use as contract school buses (including new buses and suitable second-hand buses) and, where they comply with the relevant standards and requirements, approve them for use on services.
- Research and advise SBS about current Australian standards and issues relating to vehicles and road safety.
- Liaise with contractors, drivers and school principals on matters relating to vehicles and road safety.
- Advise contractors about safety and maintenance standards relevant to their vehicles and services.
- Conduct twice-yearly, random, detailed mechanical safety inspections of all buses used on services.
- Re-inspect and consider approval of buses with identified mechanical problems.
- Liaise with bus manufacturers, suppliers, body builders, repairers, and spare parts and tyre suppliers.
- Liaise with body builders regarding the construction of buses and installation of equipment on buses used for transporting students using wheelchairs or who have mobility disabilities.
- Follow up with contractors and parents regarding any complaints or information concerning bus safety.
- Decommission buses considered unsuitable or unsafe for use on services.
- Carry out distance checks of service routes throughout the State.
- Supports and guides School Bus Advisory Committee (SBAC) in applying the Government’s policies on transport assistance for students.