Wednesday 13 July 2011
Hansard of the Legislative Council

Rural and Special Needs Bus Services
Mr FINCH- This is the one that I did practise yesterday, twice, and I was shunted to another section, so I hope I am in the right area here. But I am just curious about the rural and special needs bus services and how that circumstance might have changed since Estimates, with the 20 schools now not closing.
Mr PARKINSON - Mr Chairman, I wonder if I can ask the member to repeat his question.
Mr FINCH - In respect of this line item - Rural and special needs school bus services - I want to be apprised of the situation now that the 20 schools are not closing and we are back where we were before with the rural school bus services. There was talk of a $1 million increase and I believe that was to assist with the extra buses that might be needed for rural bus services because of those school closures. So what I want to know now is, how will that extra money that was allocated for the school closures be spent, or will it just cover the normal annual increases in costs?
Mr PARKINSON - Mr Chairman, the money that was factored into the Budget was to cover and will cover the ordinary processes of the school bus services and the school closure issue has no influence on any of that.
Mr FINCH - While we are on the subject of rural bus services and the heavy vehicle fuel, because of the carbon tax that might apply to heavy vehicle fuel that no doubt will apply to buses as well, I am wondering whether strategies have been considered or are being talked about in respect of greater fuel efficiency for the future in respect of rural and other bus services.
Mr PARKINSON - I am advised that carbon tax does not affect heavy on-road vehicles before 2014. Any increases in fuel prices are covered by the operators' contracts and they would receive assistance in relation to that. The fuel efficiency issue is one for the future as well.