OPINION: Qld a decade behind on bus seatbelt rules

ABOUT 10 years ago our family embarked on a big expedition.

It was a big one for us.

Three of us, mum, dad and 11-year-old daughter, flew from Auckland to Perth, picked up a rental campervan and off we headed north.

We didn't have much of an idea of what we were going to come across, not sure of the distances and not sure of much else, actually.

We had our travellers' bible with us - a big A4-sized book called Around Australia by Caravan.

The book showed us where to go, advised us of the best places to stop, the sights to see, etc etc.

It also told us how far between drinks (the campervan's fuel tank, that is).

We soon found that Western Australia is a huge, virtually barren piece of countryside and we also found that it was absolutely essential to feed that fuel tank at every roadhouse we saw along the way.

We ended up staying a week in Broome after a fairly quick trip north, staying at most places just one night and then packing up and on to the next.

Then off we headed across the Kimberly and ended up in Kununurra, almost on the WA/NT border. We stayed there a couple of nights, and had the most amazing experience travelling down the Ord River from Lake Argyle to Kununurra - a distance of about 80km. We had a great tour guide who knew every metre of the river and explained it as we travelled.

The hook to this story is this:

To get to Lake Argyle we travelled by a very comfortable coach.

There were probably 20 of us on the coach, and the first thing the driver said to us when we relaxed in our seats was, "Please make sure you put your seatbelts on. It is law in Western Australia that everyone travelling in a bus must wear a seatbelt. If we get stopped (and) you aren't wearing yours it will be you who cops the fine," or words to that effect.

That was almost 10 years ago.

So why is it that our Queensland Government still can't get around to making seatbelts in buses - especially school buses - compulsory?



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