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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 8 Hansard (6 August) . .

Page.. 2461..


Schools—road safety and traffic

Ministerial statement

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Racing and Gaming and Minister for the Arts) (3.22): While it sometimes should be obvious, it is nonetheless important to point out that schools are central to our community as both places of learning and, importantly, places of safety. This must extend to ensuring the wellbeing of our children going to and from school. Every day, schools are striving to improve upon this culture of safety. I know that teachers and other staff work hard to ensure that children are able to safely get between home and school. They know this is an important part of our students being able to actively participate in the high quality education system that we have in our beautiful city.

Just as we have been a high-performing education system for many years, our ACT school zones have been historically safe areas. And just as we have detailed plans to ensure continued improvement and success in education outcomes, this week we have been proud to highlight how the ACT government is keeping our school precincts safe. We treat this matter seriously and have a planned approach of working with every ACT school community in our desire to maintain our schools as safe precincts.

As every school and school community is unique, there is often no one-size-fits-all solution. All our strategies start with listening to schools and school communities about what they are experiencing. Our experts visit schools and investigate the cause of what is happening. We combine these observations with what is known about traffic safety to develop evidence-based solutions and to ensure that our school precincts are as safe as they can be.

Expert traffic safety advice and input on engineering solutions are provided by Roads ACT, who work closely with schools to undertake assessments and improvements to manage traffic safety around our schools. As part of the 2015-16 ACT budget, we have specified capital funding to undertake this important work.

The most holistic solution to improving traffic safety involves at least one of the four prongs in responding—education, encouragement, enforcement and engineering. Our road safety programs and curriculum offerings are important to educate our children on the importance of how students can keep themselves safe. We actively encourage parents in the community to be part of the solution to improve traffic safety. Where it is needed, we undertake appropriate enforcement by the police and/or Access Canberra parking inspectors. Finally, engineering solutions such as changes to parking, signage, pick-up and drop-off areas and crossings are undertaken where needed.

We have an extensive suite of programs in place across ACT government agencies to support traffic safety around our schools. An important government initiative in the area of traffic safety around schools is the active streets program being undertaken as a pilot at Latham primary, Macgregor primary, Macquarie primary and Mount Rogers Primary schools. The active streets program is an extension of the successful ride or


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