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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 2 Hansard (1 March) . . Page.. 483..


MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

For some of our older schools, the cost was more. It was something like $6,000 a site for ensuring that the trees were safe and limbs were cut where necessary. At some of the newer schools, with very small trees, nothing much was involved.

In all, there was about $180,000 of expenditure on trees across the system to make them safer. As I have indicated, it ranged from nil at some sites to $6,000-plus at some of the sites where there were bigger trees and older trees. That occurred recently in the government sector as a result of that audit. Obviously, the situation not only in the government sector but also in the other sectors will be ongoing and, hopefully, we will not have similar accidents again. Again, I extend my sympathy to everyone concerned. I will put on the record for Mr Wood what we have done at the departmental level.

MR WOOD: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. I thank the minister for that response; it was reassuring. It seems from the response that any potential problems with school-based management and that responsibility are not a condition on this sort of occasion.

MR STEFANIAK: That was not at a government school, but I do note that a large amount of that money would have been spent at the schools because of the small amounts of money actually involved. I am not quite sure of the exact figure, but some of those matters were dealt with by the schools. I do not have the exact figures on that, but I do recall reading about it fairly recently.

Suburban streets-speed limits

MR KAINE: My question is to the Minister for Urban Services-and I hope he is not too discomforted by its searching nature. Minister, today a 50-kilometre an hour speed limit applies on most of our suburban streets. I notice that you have adopted the Queensland model of just a single sign at the entrance to a suburb indicating that the speed limit in that suburb is 50 kilometres an hour unless otherwise posted, which is a sensible approach in minimising the cost.

However, there is another low cost signage initiative that I am aware of which is used in some parts of New South Wales, where the state government has issued 50-kilometre an hour stickers to be put on the side of green garbage bins. As a result, motorists who drive up these street on garbage day are confronted every 20 metres with a 50-kilometre an hour sign, which I think is an interesting and very inexpensive reminder of the speed limit. Minister, are you aware of this initiative and, if not, would you consider adopting it as a very inexpensive way of drawing people's attention at least once a week, sometimes twice, to the fact that there is a 50-kilometre an hour limit on a certain street?

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I thank Mr Kaine for the question and for some advance notice that he was going to ask it. I was not aware of this practice but I think it is a very good idea. Anything that we can do to drive home the message of what is the appropriate speed limit on all our streets is a very worthwhile consideration. I am sure that Mr Kaine, in his endeavours in the draft budget process, of which he is such a great supporter, will suggest that as a way in which the government could better spend some of its money. I thank the member for his suggestion.


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