All school crossings in the ACT that are deemed hazardous will have flashing lights and supervisors under a Canberra Liberals government.
Education spokesperson Elizabeth Lee said the Liberals believed these measures, as well as clearer road markings, would help protect more of the Territory’s school children.
“Across the Territory, thousands of nervous and excited children are spilling out onto roads near schools. It is important that we make roads near schools as safe as possible to protect our children,” she said.
She said the Government was trialling crossing supervisors in a pilot program at 20 schools but there were no signs they would be made permanent or the program expanded to other schools.
“Solar powered flashing lights and clearer road markings would go a long way to encourage motorists to slow down when driving near schools,” Ms Lee said.
“In other states, flashing lights have proven very effective at reminding drivers to slow down in school zones.”
Ms Lee said all schools with traffic vulnerabilities should have a crossing supervisor to tend to children as they crossed the road.
This would entail an audit of all school crossings as well as talking to school communities about their needs.
While the Liberals were not promising all schools would get the extra infrastructure, Ms Lee said any school that identified the need would get lights and a supervisor.
She said she had been discussing the proposal with parents groups and peak bodies and the feedback had been positive.
But Ms Lee would not be drawn on whether any particular crossings had been identified as hazardous or how much such a program would cost, saying it would be premature to do so.
Although she did say that with new technology the cost of solar lights may have come down in recent years.
The pilot program of crossing supervisors was a 2016 Labor election promise but it was only established at the start of Term 1 last year.
“Sadly, it has taken this Government more than two years to ‘trial’ supervisors at road crossings at only 20 schools with no indication of whether this trial will be adopted permanently or expanded,” Ms Lee said.
“The Government should confirm our valued crossing supervisors are here to stay and that all schools that need one will get one.”
She called on the Government to provide certainty to school communities and ensure that the supervisor program wasn’t limited to the 20 schools they had selected because ”all children deserve to be safe in going to school”.
But a Government spokesperson said school crossing supervisors were now present at 25 schools, with an extra five added this week – Canberra Grammar, Duffy Primary, Good Shepherd Primary, St Francis of Assisi Primary and Torrens Primary.
The spokesperson said the School Crossing Supervisor program had received very positive feedback from schools, parents and the community since it commenced and a program evaluation was under way and would be finalised in June 2019.
“Early results from the evaluation indicate the program is providing the desired benefit, with 48 per cent of respondents to the surveys indicating they are more likely to allow their child to walk or ride to school following the introduction of a supervisor,” the spokesperson said.
“We also have a transport liaison officer who works with schools to ensure traffic is managed appropriately, our Active Streets program which implements safer infrastructure around schools, and our Ride or Walk to School program, which are all helping kids stay safe and get exercise on the way to and from school.”
The Government would continue to look at all safety measures, including lights.
The Government spokesperson said the Liberals’ announcement was not new and accused them of grandstanding at the start of the school year.