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Tuesday, 31 March 1998
Page: 2035

Mr MOSSFIELD (10:40 PM) —I would like to speak about the efforts being made in my electorate of Greenway and in New South Wales in general to reduce the number of pedestrian fatalities, particularly among school children. Total pedestrian fatalities during 1996 Australia wide in the naught to 16 age group was 190; 59 were from New South Wales. In 1997 the national figure was 162; 50 were from New South Wales. These figures are far too high.

A national organisation called HOPE—Helping Our Pedestrians Everywhere—is operating out of a council community centre in my electorate. HOPE was established in 1991 when a local student died after being knocked down by a car when alighting from a school bus in Kildare Road, Blacktown. HOPE now has branches in Springwood, Tweed Heads, Queenscliff and the Gold Coast. One of the early programs of HOPE was to promote the use of distinctly coloured school buses. With the support of St Lukes Grammar School, Dee Why, Lindisfarne Anglican College, the Lakeside Christian College at Tweed Heads which supplied their busses, Wattyl Paints, Heckla Lights, 3M Australia and Newfema Pty Ltd which provided the materials, there are now three yellow safety buses being used to transport children to school each day.

Mrs Val Moorhouse, HOPE President, has announced a national campaign to eliminate black spots where school children could be killed getting off school buses. Mrs Moorhouse said the campaign would identify and study possible causes of black spots. The information collected would be studied and then submitted to the relevant state authorities for action. Information sought would include the name of the deceased children, the exact location, time and day of the accident and types of vehicles involved. This would allow HOPE to set up a national register which would provide information to governments to eliminate accidents involving school children.

I would also like to mention the work carried out by Mr Brian Evans, who suffered a personal tragedy when his son was killed after alighting from a school bus. Mr Evans publishes an information bulletin which is designed to raise issues concerning road safety for school children. The February 1998 bulletin draws attention to delays in implementing a number of stay safe committee recommendations in a school child pedestrian safety around buses report, published in November 1994. Some of these recommendations still to be implemented are: vehicles permitted to pass school buses in either direction at 40 kilometres per hour, buses able to run ahead of schedule without statutory controls and inadequate enforcement of road rules around schools and along school travel routes.

Mr Evans also refers to a program being conducted by the New South Wales government entitled `Safer routes to school programs'. The program involves the systematic investigation of the travel patterns of primary school students and the development of educational and behavioural initiatives to improve student safety. In particular, the program focuses on the issue of adult supervision on the journey to and from school for school children under the age of 10 years and initiatives to address this issue.

Involvement in this program is voluntary. Each school may register to be involved and then must set up a school safety committee made up of the RTA, local council, school community and possibly local police, bus companies and community road safety groups. So far I am pleased to say that 60 per cent of schools have committed to the program with most of the remainder expected to be signed up by mid-first term this year. I congratulate Mr Evans and Mrs Moorhouse and her HOPE committee on the valuable work being carried out to protect the lives of young Australian school children.