Due to the recent incident of a child being left on a bus in Queensland, the Federal Government has asked State Governments to tighten up and strengthen the safety requirements around transport.
Acting federal education minister Stuart Robert wrote to his state and territory counterparts on Thursday asking them to immediately change rules so that a second educator, other than the bus driver, is present when children are getting on and off the bus used by childcare centres. He wrote there needs to be a second educator present when children get in and out of the bus. “This incident is unacceptable and unfortunately not the first of its kind. It can never happen again,”
Labor blames that due to lack of quality assessments, shortage of staff, and the pressure of workload due to the insufficient number of staff, these types of incidents are taking place.
Childcare regulators are expected to meet next Friday for an urgent discussion about transport safety.
New National Regulations On Transporting Children Safely Were Effective From 01 October 2020.
New national regulations for policies and procedures, risk assessment, and written authorisation will come into effect for all education and care services in all states and territories throughout Australia, for transporting children.
The new requirements for the safe transportation of children relate to:
- Policy and Procedures - For services that provide or arrange transportation of children, other than as part of an excursion, the approved provider must ensure the service has policies and procedures for transportation. This includes procedures that address all of the same requirements that must be addressed for written authorisations and risk assessments for transporting children.
- Risk Assessments - Risk assessments must identify and assess risks that the transportation of a child may pose to the safety, health or wellbeing of the child, and specify how the identified risks will be managed and minimised. As a minimum, a risk assessment must include an assessment of the matters set out below. Risks should be evaluated each time children are transported unless transportation is ‘regular transportation’.
- Written Authroations - Authorisation for a child to be transported must be given by a parent or other person named in the child’s enrolment record as having authority to authorise transportation of a child.
‘Never Happen Again’: States Told To Fix Childcare Transport Rules, The Sydney Morning Herald