In the Parliament

Advocating for school road safety upgrades - Speech

Published March 2024

I rise to speak on an issue of great concern to my local constituents, which is road safety near our schools and what we can do to improve our school crossings. Unfortunately, just in the last couple of weeks, we have had highlighted again the need to focus on this important issue, with two more accidents at schools in my electorate. There was one at Rose Park Primary School, where a schoolchild on his way to school was unfortunately knocked off his bike, and, secondly, another unfortunate incident at Marryatville High School, with another accident involving a student. Thankfully, both of those students involved are okay and only sustained minor injuries, but it is an important reminder for us to be ever vigilant and take whatever action we need to on this issue.

This is an issue that was really brought to the fore for my constituents last year when there was a shocking accident at Marryatville High School involving two children who were trying to do no more than get to school, and they were tragically struck when a truck failed to stop at the red light at that school crossing. Since that time, thankfully, the children are doing very well, but we have also seen some improvements at that school crossing, including a new red-light camera being installed there. I thank the minister for his engagement on that school crossing because they are very important improvements.

But there is more work to be done. Following that accident last year, I conducted a period of consultation with all local schools in my electorate about what action we should be taking to improve road safety at our schools. I met with many school communities who had many ideas relating to their own particular schools. I have written to many ministers about many of these issues, including as recently as a couple of weeks ago, calling for certain action to be taken at a number of schools in my electorate, including Linden Park Primary School, which is home to the most unsafe school crossing in the state; Burnside Primary School; Rose Park Primary School; Glenunga International High School; Seymour College; Loretto College; St Peter's Girls School; St Patrick's Special School; and Pembroke College.

I have raised many of their particular ideas and suggestions for additional infrastructure or changes that are needed at their particular school crossings. Just as we worked with the minister on the Marryatville High School crossing, I hope we can work constructively to improve road safety at these schools as well.

This is particularly in light of the government's own announcement, on 20 December 2023, about additional investment in road safety programs. I note that that announcement did not include any detail about what projects and what locations would be funded under those new road safety programs. In light of that, I would love to see some of these important projects at schools in the eastern suburbs funded, because we are constantly seeing the need to act. I do not think we can put a price on the life of a child, so I do hope the minister considers the various suggestions made by various schools in the local community.

One particular matter that arose as a common theme in some of my consultations with local schools is the need to consider school zones around schools right across the state, and perhaps to reduce speed limits for those school zones. If you are driving along a main road in the Eastern States and you are approaching a school, you will be met with flashing orange lights and your speed will be reduced to 40 km/h. If you are driving down Portrush Road in my electorate, past Seymour College or Loreto College, or if you are driving down Kensington Road in my electorate, past Marryatville High School, you keep hurtling along at 60 km/h, and it is not immediately apparent that you are entering a school zone.

I think the time has come for us to consider slowing down traffic near school zones and perhaps considering a 40 km/h school zone, accompanied by orange flashing lights, to do everything we can to make sure local schoolchildren can get to school safely.

To view the full Hansard, click here.

To read more on this issue, click here.

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