SAFETY FIRST: Gary Dwyer and daughter Lynda Ninness are campaigning to get seatbelts on school buses.
SAFETY FIRST: Gary Dwyer and daughter Lynda Ninness are campaigning to get seatbelts on school buses. Paul Braven

What will it take to keep our children safe on buses?

THE school bus crash in Calliope this week was a warning shot for Queensland politicians to get seatbelts in our buses and we're going to work with local mum Lynda Ninness to make sure they heard it.

A bus crashed in a culvert on Taragoola Rd on Monday morning throwing 21 students around and ending with nine at Gladstone Hospital.

The driver of the bus was hailed a hero as he grabbed a girl to prevent her from flying through the front windscreen.

Lynda Ninness has been campaigning for seatbelts in school buses since September 2013. Three of her four children were on the; two of them ended up in hospital.

"This bus wasn't going fast and kids were still injured. Imagine what would happen if it was on the way in to Gladstone," she said.

Below: Brianne, 10, and Madisyn, 14, were two of nine students in hospital on Monday. Madisyn’s injuries, four days later.
Below: Brianne, 10, and Madisyn, 14, were two of nine students in hospital on Monday. Madisyn’s injuries, four days later.

"I'm (campaigning) for the kids. They're our future and they're being treated like cattle."

She has paperwork showing correspondence with education and transport ministers, local members and the premier.

"(But) It is all about the dollars," she said.

"The law states they don't have to have seatbelts, they just have to be roll over compliant.

"What's the use of being roll over compliant when the kids are flying all around the bus."

Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher says he supports the fight and has been working to find a short term solution.

"I'm doing some stuff in the background to see what the current contracts are and the options to get seatbelts on buses," he said. "I am concerned about buses that reach speeds of 80-100kmhr."

Below: Brianne, 10, and Madisyn, 14, were two of nine students in hospital on Monday. Madisyn’s injuries, four days later.
Below: Brianne, 10, and Madisyn, 14, were two of nine students in hospital on Monday. Madisyn’s injuries, four days later.

He said the problem wasn't as easy as putting seatbelts on old buses. "A lot of older buses can't be retrofitted with seatbelts," he said. "I'm going to work with BusLink and see what we can do to get them on the high-speed routes. I'm keen to progress but it can't be fixed overnight because we need to work through contracts and service agreements."

But for Mrs Ninness and father, Gary Dwyer, there's no time to waste. Gary has 11 grandchildren riding buses to school every day.

He was one of the first ones to rush to the crash on Monday. "You always think the worst and all the kids were on the ground crying," he said.

"Does someone have to die before they do something to protect them?"



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