Page 1277 - Week 04 - Thursday, 5 May 2022

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Schools—motor vehicles idling

MS CLAY: My question is the Minister for Education and Youth Affairs. Minister, I often speak to parents about traffic congestion around schools. A constituent recently asked me what we are doing to stop cars from idling at schools at drop-off and pick-up. Idling cars really drive up our climate emissions and they are a real barrier to encouraging more children and parents to walk and ride to school. I lodged this constituent question with you, and you told me about Ride and Walk to School program and the Active Streets for Schools program, and that is great, but I was really after information about idling cars. Do we have yet any education that we are delivering through our schools or to our school communities to discourage cars idling around schools?

MR STEEL: I will take the question because the Active Streets for Schools program with Transport Canberra and City Services does work with the Education Directorate to get information out to families to encourage children to walk and ride to school, but also, to encourage better behaviours around the use of vehicles, particularly around parking and safe access to school grounds for pick up and drop offs.

So that work is happening. We work with all schools on that and, where particular issues are raised at particular schools where the community has raised specific problems that are occurring, we work with them as a priority to make sure that we put in place new safe arrangements that also mean, hopefully, people who are taking their children to school in a vehicle are not idling.

There is also a range of different options that we are promoting such as ‘Kiss and Drop,’ where we are encouraging people to drop their off a little bit further away from the school, around a kilometre, so that they children can then walk the rest of the way to school safely and that, of course, reduces congestion around the school but also helps to reduce the need to idle in front of a school.

MS CLAY: Minister, are you using signage, letters to parents and notes in the school newsletters?

MS BERRY: Thank you, I will take that question. Yes, of course, schools communicate with their school community in a range of different ways about these other options that can be used by parents who are able to make those options. As Minister Steel said or implied, our school communities are very busy environments during pick up and drop.

However, there are these options in place for those families who can make the change to do ride or walk to school programs, as well as the Active Streets for Schools programs as well and the Kiss and Drop. So of course, we encourage schools to provide that information to families. Of course, schools manage their drop off and pick up differently, depending on their physical layout and their community needs. But for those families that can make the options, we provide that information about what those options might be, so that they can reduce that idling and that busyness in car parks.

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