Page 2668 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 7 August 2013

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The positive is that in my conversations with the community I have encountered a kind of sensible and altruistic approach to finding long-term solutions that are often missing in the morning rush. No-one I have spoken to wants to turn playgrounds into large, dangerous car parks, or footpaths into roads, and everyone I have spoken to wants to reduce congestion to improve the safety of children on the walk or ride to school. There are schools throughout the ACT trialling lots of innovative solutions to this problem. Kiss and drops, staggered start times, safe walking maps, traffic flow changes and student and parent education are just the beginning.

I have also been impressed by the parents and communities that have considered what kids want in the commute. During bad weather, adults are mostly concerned about getting to work without waterlogged shoes but, for our children, walking with umbrellas on a rainy day or riding bikes through gusty winds can be a real treat that many schools are trying to make sure is a safe and practical option.

What all of the positive solutions have in common is that they have involved parents showing leadership and finding multi-faceted solutions to the problem. Schools that are dealing with this problem have shown an attitude shift away from individual parents trying to find a safe spot to park in the daily rush to communities working together to make sure every child is as safe in the car park as they are in the playground.

As I said on Walk to School Day, just like many parents, most mornings the car is the only option, it is a reality of modern life. But good solutions combine a range of strategies to make sure that, on those days we take the car, the drop-off is quick and orderly and that, on the mornings when active travel is possible, traffic is safe for those who walk and ride.

I look forward over the coming years to working with school communities to find and support school commute solutions that improve the health and safety of our children, facilitate active travel and protect the sanity of parents battling the morning rush.

Arthritis ACT

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (5.25): I rise to commend the work of Arthritis ACT. In late July, I attended an information session on falls prevention with speakers Brad Butt from Cooleman Court Pharmacy, Marion Shaw from the Independent Living Centre and Shirley Syme from Arthritis ACT. I want to thank and acknowledge those speakers on the information they provided, but I would also like to pay tribute to Arthritis ACT, who hosted this event.

Arthritis ACT aim to provide quality services, contribute to research and improve the health and wellbeing of people in the ACT and surrounding regions suffering from arthritis, osteoarthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions. They were established in 1977, and they are affiliated with Arthritis Australia and other state and territory arthritis foundations. More than 30 per cent of Australians, adult and child, male and female, will be affected by arthritis or some form of musculoskeletal condition in their lifetime.

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