Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 1 Hansard (15 February) . .
While we do have an excellent safety record in school zones, there are always more opportunities to ensure that our kids remain safe. Through the Transport Canberra and City Services schools program, schools will be encouraged to think more broadly about their own school, to increase active travel participation and to improve safety in their local community. The program will help to increase safety by supervising 20 of our busiest pedestrian and kids' crossings adjacent to schools. This will also encourage parents to allow their kids to walk or ride to school each day or even be dropped off partway so that we can also reduce congestion around the school gates. I really think that this program will help to alleviate the key concern raised by parents, and that is for kids to be able to cross the road safely and easily. The supervisors work for one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon on schooldays, with start and finish times based around the individual school start and finish times.
This is just another fantastic way we are working with schools, school communities and local families to increase safety for our kids. I really welcome these 20 new supervisors to their roles and thank them for their hard work every day helping to keep our kids safe.
MS CHEYNE: Can the minister outline how this program will link in with other initiatives the government runs to encourage young people to travel actively to and from school?
MS FITZHARRIS: I thank Ms Cheyne for this question. It is great because it simply links with a range of other initiatives that we have that are already being delivered in our local communities. The ride or walk to school program, which has been around for some time now, continues to encourage more children to learn the skills and to build the confidence they need to walk and cycle safely to school.
The active streets for school program is creating and promoting safe routes to school and the crossing supervisors help kids cross roads safely. These three programs combined make walking and riding a safe, easy and fun choice for Canberra families.
Feedback we have already received through the ride or walk to school program tells us that parents are less likely to allow their kids to ride or walk to school if they think that there is a safety risk. Supervisors help to reduce this perceived safety concern and encourage more kids to choose walking and cycling as a way of getting to and from school.
As the minister responsible for this portfolio, I am very keen to see more walking and cycling to school. It has the obvious health benefits I mentioned earlier. It provides great social outcomes and helps to reduce congestion and improve safety on our roads. In my own experience, it actually helps your kids get on better. They come home from school yacking to one another rather than hounding mum and dad in the car on the way home from school. It is an unexpected benefit for our family and many others that I have also spoken to.
I look forward to his new initiative supporting schools to create safe, active and healthy communities this year and beyond.
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