State Member for Caloundra Mark McArdle today said that the forum held on 18 May demanded further action by both Buslink, in ensuring children in Baringa attending high schools across the Coast get a bus service originating from Baringa, and get Translink to attend a public forum and explain why they have taken the action of cutting six bus stops from an existing service.
“There was a real degree of anger and frustration at the meeting on 18 May from parents and residents of Baringa, Bellvista and Bells Reach who met to demand further action on behalf of themselves and other residents in the region,” Mr McArdle said.
“Buslink did attend the meeting and provided an assurance that they would meet with myself and Jamie Broderick, the Principal Petition and Louise Hodder, a further parent and petitioner, to discuss what information they need to move toward a bus service starting in Baringa to take school children to and from their high schools given the Baringa State High School is not due to open until 2021. I will provide an update on this meeting.
“There are sixty-five children in grade six at Baringa State School this year. Sixty-five children who will need to leave Baringa for High School in 2020, but no school bus. I believe the total in 2020 will be over 100 combining this and next year’s high schoolers.
“In relation to Translink – they didn’t even have the curtesy of replying to my request to attend the meeting but on 17 May I received correspondence from Mark Bailey the Labor Minister which stated in part;
‘I have asked officers from the Department of Transport and Main Roads to liaise directly with Mr Les Thomas, President of the Bellvista and Bells Reach Community Association, regarding the suitable time to meet with the association's members to discuss the reasons for the change and to listen to their concerns.’
“The Minster has to in fact direct Translink to attend a meeting, otherwise I would suspect they wouldn’t be there of their own initiative. At the meeting I said that if Translink can attend a meeting at some point in time in the future, why couldn’t they attend one on Saturday? It’s disrespectful and quite disgusting the way they have treated the residents of Bellvista and Bells Reach.
“Mark Bailey, in his very late letter said a further meeting would be organised through BBCA and Mr Les Thomas, who spoke at Saturday’s meeting on behalf of BBCA, undertook to ensure all residents were advised of the relative date and time.
“During the meeting, I asked if there had been consultation by Translink before closing the bus stops and it was unanimous that consultation had not taken place despite a claim by Translink to the contrary. Clearly Translink act in their own best interest and have little regard to how the people of Bellvista and Bells Reach are impacted.
“I call upon Minister Mark Bailey to get this mess sorted out. It’s not good enough when you have people who require and depend upon public transport having to walk longer distance to a bus stop.
“It’s also nonsense to argue that the next bus stop is only a short walking distance when there are people who are unable to walk even short distances and rely upon walkers or other assistance to get them from A to B.
“This isolates Bellvista and is simply disgusting the way this Government is treating the residence of the area,” Mr McArdle concluded.