Another minibus incident prompts Federal Government to pressure states on safety

Another minibus incident prompts Federal Government to pressure states on safety

by Freya Lucas

May 12, 2022

The Federal Government has approached states and territories asking them to make immediate changes to ensure that two educators are present in a vehicle at all times when children are being transported, saying incidents, such as the recent case of three-year-old Nevaeh Austin being left on a minibus, “can never happen again”.


Acting Federal Minister for Education Stuart Robert made the contact last week, the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reported, noting that the Minister described the incident as “unacceptable” and asking for his counterparts to take urgent action in relation to transport safety “given these tragic circumstances”.


New requirements under the National Regulations for approved providers of education and care services that offer, or arrange, transportation of children came into effect 1 October 2020, noting the additional risks which come with transporting children, and with special reference to transition periods, such as moving between a vehicle and a service or other location. 


In order to better manage these risks the new requirements were introduced to strengthen oversight arrangements when children are being transported under the care of an education and care service. 


Under the new requirements all approved providers that offer or arrange transportation of children have been required to have in place transportation-specific policies and procedures. Requirements for transport-specific risk assessments and obtaining written authorisations were also put in place. Minor corresponding changes relating to excursions that involve transporting children also took effect at that time.


To view the Education and Care Services National Amendment Regulations please see here. An ACECQA information sheet also outlines the changes, and contains links to relevant risk assessment templates that providers may wish to incorporate within their own risk material.


The Sydney Morning Herald coverage of this story is available here