TWU

Bus Drivers Risking Death at Hand of Criminals, Says Union

Release date: 18/12/2012

Sunshine Coast bus drivers are at risk of being killed by armed and dangerous criminals because of "soft" laws and punishments, the Transport Workers Union has said.

By Kate Clifford, Sunshine Coast Daily

Picture: Geoff Potter, Source: Sunshine Coast Daily


The union slammed sentences against armed thieves yesterday after a Sunbus driver was allegedly held at knife-point while waiting at a stop in Bli Bli.

Two teenagers allegedly jumped on board the bus and threatened the driver for money on Sunday, before fleeing on foot with a cash drawer.

Union branch secretary Peter Biagini said the safety of transport workers, particularly bus drivers, was reaching crisis point.

"The Sunshine Coast, Cairns and the Gold Coast are the worst places in Queensland to be a bus driver," Mr Biagini.

"It is only a matter of time before there is going to be a serious fatality on these buses."

"It won't just be bus drivers in the firing line either; passengers and children are at risk too."

"Our people can't keep working in fear because all these low-lives are getting is a slap on the wrist, which is why they keep doing what they're doing."

Police arrested and charged an 18-year-old Pacific Paradise man and a 14-year-old Maroochydore boy over the hold-up yesterday. The penalty for armed robbery in Queensland was 25 years in prison, with the maximum penalty for robbery 14 years.

Mr Biagini said despite the hard penalties available, magistrates were handing down "soft" sentences.

"These people don't necessarily have to go to jail because a lot of them are juveniles, but they do need to be punished," he said.

Sunbus operations head Brett Lee said Sunbus would investigate every report of violence against drivers.

He said the driver was carrying a small amount of cash when he was robbed.

Police are also investigating an armed robbery of a group of teenagers at Caloundra.

Police called on two women who saw two men hold-up a group with a gun at Kings Beach on Saturday night to come forward.

The two male offenders stole cash, cigarettes and two bicycles.

Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Click here to read the original article at Sunshine Coast Daily.

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