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Assisted School Travel Program – increased rates

Media Release

3 April 2012

The NSW Government will increase rates to transport operators under the Assisted School Travel Program (ASTP) for students with special needs, Education Minister Adrian Piccoli announced today. The new rates come into effect on 1 May 2012.

Mr Piccoli said that the NSW Government had taken swift and decisive action following a review of the problems with the ASTP at the beginning of the 2012 school year.

“The new rates offer certainty and stability to transport operators and to parents, carers, and students with special needs,” Mr Piccoli said.

“The Education Department is offering current operators a contract under the new rates.

“Should an operator not wish to continue in the ASTP, or if there are any other variations to a run as a result of the new rates, the Education Department will advise parents and carers immediately and work with them to make alternative arrangements for their children.”

Mr Piccoli said that the new rates were fair and reasonable, and were significantly higher than current payments.

“They were developed following consultation with operators, and focus groups held in regional and metropolitan areas.”

The new rates:

  • firmly establish a 30km minimum payment for all runs
  • establish a minimum daily payment for each category of vehicle with an increase for all categories
  • provide increases for all vehicle classes that vary from approximately 18% to 36%
  • provide further increases for runs in excess of 100km.

“In addition to the increases in the new rates, we have varied the conditions applying to the 15% loading for runs where a travel support officer (TSO) is required so that all runs with a TSO will attract the 15% payment,” Mr Piccoli said.

“We’ve listened to operators’ concerns and the NSW Government will substantially increase total annual funding for the AST Program by nearly 57%.

“These new rates are about getting students with special needs to school each day and establishing a routine that they and their families can rely on.

“At the same time, our deeply committed transport operators can now feel they are being paid a fair rate for the vital work they do.”

Mr Piccoli added that the NSW Government would now look at the employment arrangements and pay rates for travel support officers (TSOs) under the ASTP.

“We are also working to address other issues under the ASTP to improve customer service for parents and carers, transport operators and TSOs.”

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