Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery is savouring a well-earned victory today.
Less than 24 hours after informing local media outlets, including the Newcastle Weekly, that a bus service between Cardiff and Hunter Sports High School would be cut, the NSW Government notified her late yesterday it “will resume as per normal”.
The state member was determined to call on the Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance to explain why pupils from Cardiff and Glendale had “their bus” taken away, while youngsters from a private learning facility in Sydney recently had their ferry reinstated.
It is understood Transport for NSW originally refused to fund the local route.
Then, on Tuesday 2 February, a department spokesperson stated that “wasn’t the case” – and there would be no changes to the service.
But, Ms Hornery claims the government simply backflipped on its decision.
“The bus company – Hunter Valley Buses – was told last week that the service was no longer going to be funded,” she said.
“In fact, it was due to cease as of Monday 8 February.
“That would’ve had a massive impact on those students who attend Hunter Sports High School, forcing them to take two buses and adding about 30 minutes to their daily travel time.
“It was a distressing situation for their families, too.
“Ironically, the minister stepped in (at the same time) to save a ferry service for private school students in Sydney at a cost of $7000 per child per year.
“Thankfully, after emails and letters to Mr Constance and a day of media, I was advised [late] yesterday afternoon that Transport for NSW had opted not to go through with its original plan.
“The service will continue.”
Ms Hornery thanked everyone who helped place pressure on the NSW Government to alter the outcome.
“This is a win for school students, who’ll be able to resume taking the same bus to Hunter Sports High without the need to change buses and add another half-an-hour to their trip,” she said.
“It’s good to see that common sense has prevailed on this occasion.
“I’ll continue to fight for this electorate.”