My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Roads and Road Safety, who I note is in the chamber this evening. The action that I seek is the immediate installation of traffic lights at a pedestrian crossing at the intersection of Childers Street and Warrigal Road in Mentone. Thousands of families and students cross this busy thoroughfare each week as they make their way to Mentone Childcare & Kindergarten, Guardian Childcare & Education Mentone West, Mentone Primary School, Mentone Preschool and St Patrick’s Parish Primary School, yet they do so at great risk to their own safety. Drivers exiting Nepean Highway commonly approach this intersection at speed. They have dangerously little awareness of the little people walking just a little distance away from them. In coming days I will be conveying to the minister letters which I have received from each of these five education providers. Principal Tim Noonan of St Patrick’s writes that:
Each day most of our families use this intersection—
… a crossing with a supervisor is not enough to protect our families …
On that point, assistant principal Ken Bergen of Mentone Primary School rightly notes that:
… due to the crossing’s inherent danger, Council can only use highly skilled … crossing supervisors …
This in turn places crossing supervisor Denise Davis, a real champion who has helped spearhead the campaign for a pedestrian crossing, in a state of ‘constant risk’. Kingston council wrote to me. Acting chief executive officer Paul Franklin said:
Council supports the proposal to implement a pedestrian operated signal or similar pedestrian safety improvement measurement …Council is also happy to work with the Department of Transport and local residents to explore options to improve pedestrian safety at the location.
There are plenty of residents who would be interested in this. Bec Schmidt of Guardian Childcare & Education, Mentone West, wrote:
Our centre … has limited parking, so we encourage our families to …stay fit and healthy by walking … to child care …
To this end Bec notes that a safer crossing at the intersection is ‘essential’. What this really comes down to is a simple question: does the government value the safety of young lives more than the cost—the negligible costs, arguably—of installing the infrastructure that is needed at that site? Mentone Childcare & Kindergarten educator Celeste Hull put it best, in my view, when she said:
We’re sick of a ‘wait and see’ approach. Waiting to take action until someone’s Mother, Father, or child is tragically injured or killed in an accident is not acceptable.
She is right. When lives are at stake, not taking action is just not good enough.