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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 15 Hansard (Wednesday, 14 December 2005) . . Page.. 4873 ..


injuries and, for every death, there are 25 children admitted to hospital. The tragedy of these deaths and injuries is that many could quite simply have been prevented if a little extra time and care were taken to watch out for or pre-empt the dangers that might lurk around the home or near driveways or roads. This is particularly important coming up to the school holidays, which begin next week.

It should be kept in mind that, when children are playing, even near quiet suburban streets, they are still likely to have trouble judging the speed of a car, have trouble telling where noise is coming from or even have trouble seeing over bushes or parked cars. This places them at risk. To fight these dangers there are a number of important steps that can be taken to prevent both pedestrian and home-related accidents, such as slowing down in areas where children might be playing or riding; ensuring that, when backing out of driveways, no children are near or likely to walk in the path of the car; and ensuring that school-aged children on holidays receive adequate supervision and care.

A number of programs, initiatives and organisations have played an important role in ensuring that children and their parents are aware of and briefed on the dangers that pose a risk to them. These programs have been very successful and, since 1979, the number of child fatalities and accident-related injuries has halved. The ACT kidsafe program, school safe, was implemented in all ACT primary schools at the end of 2003 and provides a mechanism for schools to improve safety at school by integrating changes to the safety-related curriculum. This program has been particularly useful in increasing the awareness of school-age children to things like safety in school car parks, at bus stops and on roads. These skills and this knowledge are useful at all times.

The ACT government has also played an important role in developing and facilitating road safety awareness strategies and plans which are useful in safeguarding motorists and children over times like school holidays. The introduction of 50-kilometre per hour zones in residential streets and 40-kilometre per hour zones around schools is a good example of the government’s commitment to ensuring the safety of our children.

The emphasis on fighting driver fatigue is another relevant strategy for many ACT families who travel outside the ACT over the school holidays. Many of these families, for instance, travel to the north coast, to the south coast, to Sydney, to Melbourne or to regional New South Wales—areas that are many hours drive from the ACT. These roads are unfamiliar to many Canberrans. They generally have high speed zones and over the school holiday period can often be congested with other travellers. I would urge all road users to be vigilant when it comes to road safety, especially during holiday periods, and to be prepared and organised while travelling. Know your holiday address and tell others where you will be; carry first-aid equipment and know first aid. Although these are small safety measures, they are nevertheless skills which can save lives.

The ACT government’s road safety strategy and action plans also aim to curb death, injury and trauma on our roads. These are being implemented not only by guaranteeing stricter enforcement of road rules but also by ensuring that public education is a high priority, ensuring that particular emphasis is placed on developing program awareness for vulnerable road users, including cyclists, the elderly and, importantly, school-age children. I have many more notes but I am about to run out of time. I commend the motion to the Assembly, in light of the upcoming holidays.


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