Grievance Debate: Kurralta Park Kindergarten Crossing


Mr GARDNER ( Morialta ) ( 15:17 ): Today, I want to bring the attention of the house to some very important matters relating to the Kurralta Park Kindergarten that were first brought to my attention by the member for Hindmarsh, Mr Matt Williams MP, an incredibly hardworking local member. His hard work, I know, is appreciated by many of his constituents, in particular the 105 constituents associated with the Kurralta Park Kindergarten who signed a petition that was tabled prior to question time today. Those 105 constituents of Mr Matt Williams MP have asked this house to note their petition, which reads as follows: 

We draw the attention of your Honourable House to the need for a 'Koala Crossing' at the location of the Kurralta Park Kindergarten at 35 Barwell Avenue, Marleston. Approximately 70 children aged between 2 years and 5   years access the Kindergarten daily, plus many families with young children frequent the centre for a range of programs. The current part-time crossing is no longer suitable particularly given that there are many examples cited when ve hicles have failed to obey the r oad rules associated with the current crossing. 

Your petitioners therefore request that your Honourable House approve funding for the current Children's Crossing to be replaced by a 'Koala Crossing' at the Kurralta Park Kindergarten at 35 Barwell Avenue, Marleston. 

Matt Williams has brought this information and this petition to me to table in this house as the shadow minister for education because his entreaties to the government thus far—to the minister for education and, prior to that, the former minister for road safety (the member for Light)—went unsupported. 

To put it into some context, the current crossing on Barwell Avenue at Marleston is a part‑time crossing and does not meet the needs of the kindergarten's families. There are many examples where vehicles have failed to obey basic road rules, failed to slow down or stop for pedestrians on the crossing, putting at risk the lives of children, parents and staff of the kindergarten. 

Despite extensive anecdotal evidence from families and staff at Kurralta Park Kindergarten about many near-miss accidents, the state government has expressed firmly the view that no further upgrade to the crossing is required. Seventy children access the kindergarten daily. Many more families frequent the centre for a range of other programs. The kindergarten provides services, in particular, for newly migrated families who are often unfamiliar with Australian road rules. There are many examples where cars have not been adhering to the speed limit and speed down the road. 

Matt Williams wrote to the member for Light when he was the minister for road safety in August 2015 and received a response from the member for Light advocating education campaigns about using the road safety crossing. In particular, the member for Light, representing the Labor government in South Australia, advocated that the kindergarten use the Elmo Stays Safe resource pack, which was delivered to childhood sites around South Australia. The government minister, as he was then, wrote: 

A potentially beneficial strategy for the Kurralta Park Kindergarten may be to explore the Elmo Stays Safe resource pack and integrate the key road safety messages into the children's daily learning experiences. 

Informative as that suggestion may have been, I am not sure it was useful or provided new information to the kindergarten, unfortunately. Matt Williams then made representations to the current Minister for Education and Child Development and received a response stating: 

Thank you for your letter regarding road safety matters in respect of the Kurralta Park Community Kindergarten. 

I understand that the Kindergarten is seeking to have the existing emu crossing replaced with a koala crossing. 

I am advised that traffic management of Barwell Avenue is the responsibility of the City of West Torrens. SAPOL is the appropriate authority to enforce and regulate speed restrictions. 

I encourage the Kindergarten to continue to engage with the Council on this matter and to contact SAPOL regarding the enforcement of speed restrictions. 

She has passed the letter on to the City of West Torrens. This kindergarten is seeking a permanent crossing to help ensure the safety of families crossing the road to access the important services provided by the kindergarten. The state Labor government has done nothing. Matt Williams is advocating very responsibly and forcefully on behalf of his constituents. As the shadow minister for education, I am pleased to bring this information to the attention of this parliament, which should heed the message coming from Matt Williams.