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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 1 Hansard (11 February) . . Page.. 251..


MR PRATT (continuing):

Is it not the duty and obligation of the government to provide a safe and timely method of crossing the road for schoolchildren throughout the school year? This was not the case in the instance of the opening of the new Amaroo school. Clearly, the government did not think through all the requirements. I am sure that they meant to cover this requirement and I am sure that the government and the minister are trying to ensure safety, but at the opening of the school they forgot to provide children with a safe method of getting to and from the school.

This is not an isolated case. As we review the situation around the community and receive feedback sparked off by these and other circumstances, we are determined that it is well past time that a safety audit of all schools be carried out.

Mr Wood: Explain your logic there. You think there's a problem in one place and then you want to extend it to everywhere. I just do not understand that logic. I expect you'll explain it in your speech.

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Wood! Mr Pratt has the floor.

MR PRATT: For example, we know there are problems with a pedestrian island that was proposed to be built in front of the Good Shepherd school at Amaroo. I assume that we have all received correspondence from residents in the area who are concerned with the placement of the pedestrian island.

Overall, it can be said that the government was errant in its duty throughout the establishment and opening of the new Amaroo school. It did not provide a safe and established crossing for the children to access the school. That is errant behaviour. The government has also not resolved issues of a pedestrian island in front of the Good Shepherd school. That is a concern. One can only assume that the government, especially the minister for education, needs a watchdog to ensure that parents can rely on the infrastructure to be available so that their children can safely access schools. Obviously, we need to hold the government's hand on that.

My motion also states that I am concerned that school crossings in the ACT are inadequate. This is fundamentally a safety issue, and safety is not to be trifled with. Let me pick a random school-let's say Fraser primary school. This school also does not have a designated crossing for children to cross safely when getting to and from the school.

Upon examination, the school is surrounded by a total of six bus stops-two bus stops on each of the surrounding streets: Tillyard Drive, Kerrigan Street and Shakespeare Crescent. Therefore, there is a total of six access points to the school grounds or the school oval. None of these has a designated crossing area. Tillyard Drive does have an underpass near the bus stops. However, this does not solve the problem of safe access for children who live on the other sides of the school or who need to catch buses on the other streets surrounding the school.

I want to bring to light the issue of Torrens primary school, which I have been monitoring for some time. I have also raised the issue in this place and I have written to ministers to have outstanding action expedited. I hope that action is under way. The


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