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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2000 Week 12 Hansard (6 December) . . Page.. 3755..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

agree that a verbal warning from a police officer is usually effective, and that is very pleasing if that is the case. But, if they are not doing it, I am certainly happy to check into that. I would appreciate it if you would supply me with a copy of your letter and the response so I can look at the police angle and take it on board to see if we can improve the situation.

In terms of schools, yes, we have very extensive education programs to teach people sensible road habits. Certainly I am aware of a lot of emphasis being put on safe cycling over a considerable period - including, of course, the essential nature of wearing a helmet as part and parcel of that. Not only is it the law for cyclists, but also it is terribly important that young people are taught to do that for the obvious reason that it can actually save their lives.

I am reminded of an excellent cyclist - in fact, a representative of Australia in mountain - bike riding - who had a very nasty accident the other day. His mother showed me the helmet he was wearing. It was a bit mangled up and was being shown around to people at an event. If he had not been wearing that he would be dead. It is as simple as that - a helmet can actually save lives, so it is a terribly important message to reinforce. I am certainly happy to see that it is reinforced further in schools because obviously that is an important place to start getting the message across to young people. I thank you for raising the question, Mr Wood, and if I can have that documentation I will follow up on the police angle.

MR WOOD: I will certainly do that, Mr Stefaniak. But is it also the case that the police are so stretched and so far behind in curbing crime that they do not have time to talk to young cyclists and to give that verbal warning?

MR STEFANIAK: I think I have answered that in full, both today and yesterday, Mr Wood, in terms of the additional resources that we are putting into the police and proactive policing, and that is part and parcel of proactive policing - getting out there and talking to people.

Fern Hill Development

MS TUCKER: My question, which is directed to the Minister for Urban Services, Mr Smyth, relates to the preliminary assessment that has recently been released of the proposed development of the Fern Hill area in Bruce. Minister, the proponents of this development are the Fern Hill Joint Venture, the Infrastructure and Asset Management Group and the Commonwealth Department of Finance and Administration, who all hold land in this area. The preliminary assessment was prepared following detailed site studies and other research carried out by a team of consultants on behalf of the proponents. This consultant team is listed and contains five private consultancy groups and also the wildlife research and monitoring unit of Environment ACT. This is quite worrying as this unit normally provides advice through Environment ACT to PALM on the adequacy of the ecological aspects of preliminary assessments and also on the environmental impacts of Territory Plan variations like the one that the proponents are seeking. The unit will end up commenting on its own work.

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