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Wednesday, 16 August 1972
Page: 138

Senator WRIGHT - On 22nd March Senator McLaren asked me as Minister representing the Minister for Education and Science the following question:

Will the Minister examine the possibility of altering the starting time of the 8.30 a.m. lectures at the Canberra College of Advanced Education as this present starting time doubtless contributes to traffic delays caused to students at the intersection of Belconnen Way and Haydon Drive, due to heavy city-bound traffic on Belconnen Way? These delays could contribute to traffic accidents in the vicinity of the college because of haste by students after escape from Belconnen Way. Is the Minister aware that 2 separate accidents involving young women students occurred this morning when a 17-year old motor cyclist received fatal injuries after colliding with a truck near the college gates and a 19-year old pedestrian received severe injuries when hit by a car near the main college building? Will the Minister make representations to the Department of the Interior with a view to installing traffic lights or a vehicle overpass at the Belconnen Way-Haydon Drive intersection, and more adequate facilities, such as a pedestrian overpass at the college itself.

I brought the question to the attention of the Minister for Education and Science who has now provided the following information:

Concerning first the possibility of an alteration of the College lecture time-table. I believe Senator McLaren's suggestion may be based on a misapprehension about the particular circumstances surrounding the 2 accidents to students which occurred on 22nd March. The honourable senator's question seems to suggest that the 8.30 a.m. starting time for lectures at the College could have contributed to the accidents. In fact I am informed that both accidents occurred just before 9.00 a.m. and the students concerned were coming in for lectures commencing at 9.30 a.m.; I understand, too, that neither accident occurred in conditions of heavy traffic.

The College organises some lectures at 7.30 a.m. and 8.30 a.m. daily, for the convenience of part-time students in the Public Service. The Principal believes that a postponement of the start of lecturing until 9.00 a.m. or 9.30 a.m. could result in large numbers of part-time students cutting back on their study programmes, and would imply an overall cut in the College's programme.

There can be no doubt, however, that at times of peak traffic along Belconnen Way the College accepts and discharges large numbers of vehicles. I have consulted the Minister for the Interior about the need for improved traffic control provisions at the Belconnen Way-Haydon Drive intersection. The Minister has told me that, though there are no plans to provide traffic signals or an overpass at this location (and indeed the 2 accidents did not occur at or near this intersection), the widening of Belconnen Way to accommodate increased traffic flows and turning movements in this vicinity is currently planned by the National Capital Development Commission. This will include any appropriate work at the intersection with Haydon Drive and, in addition, traffic signals are to be installed at the Belconnon Way-Bindubi Drive intersection which will create gaps in the traffic at Haydon Drive.

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