Grievance Debate: A Safe School crossing for Highbury Primary School


Mr GARDNER ( Morialta ) ( 15:15 ): I am very pleased to present to the house a petition signed by 571 South Australians, to: 

…draw the attention of your Honourable House to the need for improved road safety measures around Highbury Primary School and Preschool. Hundreds of students walk to sch oo l daily, including many who have to cr o ss busy roads such as Lower North East Rd and Valley Rd. Students attending Modbury High School are also impacted—whether they walk or catch the bus to school. The roads are unsafe and need improvements, such as: 

A safe crossing across Lower North East Rd, between Dordoy St and Stow Ct;

A safe crossing across Valley Rd, at either of or between Honeysuckle Dr and Beckman Ave;

Improved road signage, road markings and student crossings on the roads immediately surrounding the school and preschool.

Request 

Your petitioners therefore request that your Honourable House sup p ort improved road safety measures as identified. 

This is a matter that I first brought to the attention, as a neighbouring member of parliament, of the current Minister for Transport. He passed it on to the then minister for road safety (the member for Light). The member for Light eventually got back to us identifying that the school could have participated in the Way2Go program but did not. 

The constituent who first brought it to my attention was Mr Abraham Shuken. It will be two years by the time anything gets done, the way things are going. Mr Shuken has been beavering away at this and working so hard with his school community and the local community. I note, with 571 signatures, that an extraordinarily high proportion of the school community have invested themselves in this process. Mr Shuken wrote back to the then minister (member for Light) in relation to this matter. I quote from his letter: 

I am a member of Highbury Primary School governing council and a concerned parent of children attending their local government school. 

Mr Shuken goes on to refer to the correspondence that I sent him from the minister, dated 6 August 2015: 

Since then no further correspondence has been received, nor at any time was Principal Carol Williams contacted as indicated (she has stated this to me in an email)… 

I find it disappointing, no further action has been taken, to my knowledge. The problem still remains, children are expected to cross a four lane, Lower North East Road, with no signage, and the closest crossing 1 km away. 

Does the government find it acceptable for children to cross a four lane, major road, with no safety in place, to get to their local, state government school? What is required to get action on this? 

Mr Shuken then goes on with some other points of view. Having visited Highbury Primary School on a number of occasions, and having spent some time walking on the local streets with parents—the same streets on which their children walk to school—I can absolutely lend my support to the case being put forward by Mr Shuken, the members of the Highbury Primary School governing council and the nearly 600 people who have signed this petition over the last month or so, calling on the government to take action. 

There is inadequate signage all around the school and there is inadequate road marking all around the school. As I brought to the attention of the house late last year in relation to Ridgehaven Primary School and its inadequate lighting for school crossings outside their school, this is a matter of the most serious concern. What is more important than the protection of our children in our community? It should be the most simple thing, that we have a reasonable expectation that our children should be able to walk to their local government primary school. 

This is a serious matter that requires attention. The government has not given it that attention for two years and has refused to give it that attention. There is a new Minister for Road Safety, we probably have a new education minister since this matter started, and we still have the same Minister for Transport. On behalf of these 571 petitioners and the local communities in the north-eastern suburbs, I urge the government to take action. This does not need to be political matter. This should be just a commonsense issue that is dealt with as soon as possible.