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Tuesday, 4 October 1983
Page: 1285

Mr MILDREN(8.06) —I was mentioning the funds that have been allocated to the jobs on local roads program, and also the amount of money which had been allocated through the Australian bicentennial roads development program for national roads. In particular I was referring to roads in North Queensland and the area in and around Townsville where my colleague the honourable member for Herbert (Mr Lindsay) has been extremely diligent. As we know, he is well known in that area for the work which he has undertaken for transport. In 1979 the same gentleman formed the North Queensland Airports Development Council which laid the foundation for the establishment of the international airport at Townsville. That work has been recognised by Qantas Airways Ltd and also by the local community. Of course, he ensured that he was with the Minister for Transport in travelling between Cairns and Townsville, to make sure that the Minister was fully acquainted with the state of those roads in that area. I think it is to his credit, to a large degree, that that road will receive a considerable amount of Federal funds for upgrading and also ensuring that those very dangerous single lane bridges, which are a major problem in the area, are remedied.

In relation to the ABRD program, allocations have also been made to complete the duplication of the carriageway between Melbourne and Ballarat. This, of course, is extremely important. Not only does it continue the opening up of access to Melbourne from Ballarat by fast traffic but also it provides an increased opportunity for tourist facilities to be developed in Ballarat. Ballarat, as honourable members know, is probably one of the unique tourist cities in the Commonwealth and is, of course, in the focal point of tourism in the central highlands area of Victoria. Much has been done in the area and we know that in the future there will be an even greater development of tourism.

The jobs on local roads program signals not only a real attempt to create jobs but also it provides a great deal of opportunity for local governments to undertake the construction and maintenance of their road programs. I suppose when one refers to ABRD, it would be only just to give some credit to the previous Government in this particular program. I think, however, that one cannot help but make some kind of reference to the fact that it was a program brought in in haste to bolster the Government's hopes in the election which it intended to hold in the latter part of last year. History records, of course, that that did not take place. But I still applaud that Government for its initiative with ABRD. It is a pity it had not done it years before. It should also be recorded that work needs to be done on roads in north Queensland. Unless that area has access roads, all forms of development there will be truncated; there can be no further development. I have been there and I have spoken with the local people there, and this is a very critical matter. This is so all along the Bruce Highway.

I want to comment on the road safety program. I commend the Minister for Transport for having included in the Budget an allocation of $200,000 for a feasibility study and development of a national road safety and public education program. Of course, I also give full credit to the honourable member for Lilley (Mrs Darling), who is known through the length of this country for her concern for this matter. Given the appalling casualty rate on the nation's roads, it is critical that such a study be undertaken. The objectives of the program are to make adults more aware of their responsibilities and to improve the safety of their children. It is an appalling fact that over 5,000 children are killed or injured in road crashes in Australia each year. Sixty children are killed in cycle accidents and 140 child pedestrians are also killed. Sadly it must be surmised that some of these children would still be alive had they received an adequate education in road safety.

I draw the attention of the chamber to a most active, well-organised and well- supported program on road safety education in my electorate. I refer to the Keith Edmonston Road Traffic Safety School, which is run by Mr Russell Lindsay. This is one of the most comprehensive and well-organised programs in Australia today. Over 14,000 children have been assisted by the traffic school. It enjoys the enthusiastic support of parents, local schools and local government bodies. In addition, the staff of two is provided by the Victorian Education Department. Local service clubs have contributed considerable sums for the purchase of tricycles and bicycles and two local auto retailers have provided cars for driver education.

The lay-out of the school, which is situated at the Ballarat Airport, provides realistic experience in traffic control. Curriculum programs have been developed to enable teachers to undertake follow-up teaching in schools and the ages catered for range from pre-school to secondary students. Audio-visual programs have also been developed, some of which have been produced in co-operation with local television stations. For wet weather-and Ballarat occasionally has some of this-one of the buildings at the airport has been imaginatively painted to simulate roadways. Little children are able to ride their bicycles and tricycles according to the dictates of the traffic code. I must comment on this program and hope that the Joint Standing Committee on Road Safety shows some interest in its activities.

The CHAIRMAN —Order! The honourable gentleman's time has expired.