Statement from the Transport Workers’ Union of NSW – 14 December 2016 – Regarding the sentencing of Matthew James Mcalister who brutally attacked a Bus Driver in Raymond Terrace.
At the frontline of the delivery of transport needs in any community, Bus Drivers take our loved ones to work and school and ensure the safety and security of their passengers every day.
On the 19th of November 2014, a Driver working for Hunter Valley Buses, working his bus through Raymond Terrace was brutally and persistently attacked by Matthew James Mcalister who in a drunken state kicked, punched and also assaulted the Driver with a bottle. Other passengers had to assist the Driver during the attack. We understand that Mr McAlister was also charged with assaulting Police in the execution of their duty.
A District Court Judge today sentenced Matthew McAlister to a prison sentence of over two years in length.
Richard Olsen, Secretary of the Transport Workers’ Union of NSW said “We are pleased that a prison sentence has been handed down and hope that it will act as a deterrent to ensure protection of those in our community like Bus Drivers who are in a vulnerable position.”
The TWU echoes the sentiments of Her Honour on behalf of our members. The Bus Driver was the victim of a “serious and unprovoked offence”. Our member was entitled to do his job safely “without being abused and assaulted in the way he was.” Her Honour further stated that an assault on a Bus Driver is a “most serious offence on a vulnerable victim”
“We believe at this point in time it is appropriate that the NSW Minister for Transport, Andrew Constance considers a review of security on bus services across the state. Given the long and repeated history of violent attacks against Bus Drivers simply doing their job, we urge the Minister to act now,” Richard Olsen said.
In the past week, health and safety representatives at Busways in the Mt Druitt region have called for bans on bus routes where attacks have occurred. Groups of people are throwing rocks and sticks at moving buses, putting Bus Drivers and their passengers at risk.
Once again, the TWU is seeking that the Minister for Transport urgently provide assistance to Bus Companies to ensure that Drivers have the support and training to deal with violent situations. We would urge that the necessary resources be made available to NSW Police to better target known trouble spots in the transport network.
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