My adjournment matter tonight is for the Minister for Public Transport, Terry Mulder. It is in relation to transport issues and access to training in Geelong, in particular for the Perdrisat family, who live on a property near Lethbridge. The issue concerns their 16-year-old son, Nicholas, who will hopefully be a Victorian certificate of applied learning (VCAL) student at Geelong Technical Education Centre in East Geelong next year. He is currently a student at the Christian College in Geelong, but as the college does not offer VCAL, Nicholas will hopefully be at GTEC in 2012.
On a daily basis the family will drive Nicholas from the property to Bannockburn to catch the V/Line bus that will take him to Geelong station. He will then catch a bus to the East Geelong campus.
The problem is that the class ends at 3.10 p.m. and the next bus back to Bannockburn leaves Geelong station at 4.35 p.m. This will mean Nicholas has to wait for an hour and 25 minutes before he can get transport back home. This is a Transport Connections bus which is currently undergoing a trial, and future funding of this service is unknown. It is understood that it will not receive ongoing funding. If the Transport Connections bus is not funded, Nicholas’s only other option will be to catch a V/Line bus from Geelong station at 5.35 p.m., 2 hours and 25 minutes after the last class. If for whatever reason that bus is missed, the next bus is at 9.10 p.m.
The family is aware that there are 15 other Gordon TAFE and GTEC students who currently catch the 4.35 p.m. Transport Connections bus each day back to Bannockburn.
My request is that the Transport Connections service be retained and funded by this government beyond the recent trial and that a more timely transport option be made available to the GTEC and Gordon TAFE students who reside in Golden Plains shire to allow them to arrive home at a similar time to other VCAL students. To do otherwise, I believe, is to place students from rural and regional areas at an additional disadvantage and undermine their opportunities to become the new generation and the backbone in our rural and regional communities. I am sure that the President would agree with this proposition.
The action I seek is that the minister commit to a timely delivery of a reliable bus service for Golden Plains shire VCAL students enrolled at both Gordon Institute and GTEC. I look forward to receiving the minister’s response sooner rather than later, because students and their families are organising and planning their enrolments as we speak.