ZACH BRAY was a fighter and passionate about helping others, and after he was tragically killed in the Hunter Valley bus crash, his father made a vow of his own.
Adam Bray, with survivors, families and a panel of experts, has made a 51-page submission calling for a national coach safety taskforce, in an effort to prevent another horrific incident.
Mr Bray lost his beloved son and nine of his mates in the wedding bus crash in June.
He told the Newcastle Herald he had promised his "Zachy" when he went to say goodbye that he would create change and never give up, no matter how hard it got.
"No, never, never, never, never," he said.
His voice cracked as he told of his son's battle with stage-three bowel cancer at just 25 years old, and how proud he was of him.
"He bounced back, smashed it, became an advocate for early detection of bowel cancer in young Australians ... just incredible stuff," he said.
"That's why I'm not backing down. Because if he was here, it's exactly what he would be doing."
Mr Bray met with Assistant Federal Transport Minister Carol Brown in Sydney on Tuesday.
Previous meetings with transport representatives in Canberra, alongside survivor Alex Tigani, had left him appalled and frustrated by the lack of action.
"There's not one person in Canberra, in the federal government system, that understands anything about bus coach safety," he told the Herald on Tuesday ahead of the meeting.
"We know what the gaps are, we've had a deep dive, four months ago we were just scratching the surface and we were horrified, and we took action straight away.
"We've got to keep smashing them."
Hunter MP Dan Repacholi shared his community's frustrations with how long the process was taking, but vowed to continue putting pressure on his Labor colleagues and the state governments to get on with the job.
"Like Adam has said, I won't walk away from this until there is a satisfactory outcome for everyone, no matter how hard it gets," Mr Repacholi said.
"I have heard firsthand from the families that frustration. But when you are working with all the individual states and territories it can be hard to get them all responding at the same pace."
Mr Bray and the team have prepared a comprehensive document that lays bare "what all the problems are, why all the problems are there, and more importantly, the recommendations and how to fix it".
A spokesperson for Senator Brown said the department had been instructed to work through the recommendations presented by the group, including the federal taskforce, and encouraged other states to follow NSW's lead.
The STOP Bus Tragedies team has talked to stakeholders internationally and experts at home and believe Australia's coach design rules are more than a decade behind the times.
They're calling on a federally-initiated and federally-funded bus taskforce for coaches.
Mr Bray said he hoped Tuesday's meeting was a positive sign they could work with the Australian government to protect people like Zach and his friends.
Mr Bray said the loss of 10 people in the wedding bus crash on Wine Country Drive at Greta on June 11 was heartbreaking, and the 25 survivors were battling life-long mental wounds, while some were still struggling with their serious physical injuries.
He said it made the entire incident a "massacre".
"The Hunter Valley bus crash ... had a devastating impact on the bus occupants, families and friends of those who were on the bus, and first responders," the submission states.
"The second-round impacts on road infrastructure, the legal system, transport services/providers/users, and local communities will, like the direct impact on those directly affected, continue to reverberate through the lives of many people for decades to come."
Mr Bray has urged the federal government to take a similar approach to NSW, which has a bus safety taskforce backed by premier Chris Minns and transport minister Jo Haylen.
On Tuesday, Mr Bray also met with state government transport representatives as part of a progress meeting for the work they're already doing.
The STOP Bus Tragedies group, backed by some victims' families, garnered close to 10,000 signatures on their e-petition to the Australian government to make bus seatbelts mandatory nation-wide.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.