The LNP Government has put the budget bottom line and political point scoring ahead of school children as it guts one of the most critical road safety initiatives of the past decade.
Mulgrave MP Curtis Pitt said as Queensland kids returned to school today it could today be revealed the government and the Transport Minister had slashed funding from 111 schools throughout the state to install standardised school crossing zones and flashing lights this year to slow motorists down.
Mr Pitt said 15 schools in the Far North region were among them.
“This is a program to bolster school safety which is based on extensive research by the Transport Department – in the wake of a Coroner’s investigation into the death of a child – which identified those schools which should be prioritised,” Mr Pitt said.
“It was fully costed and funded by the former government and should have resulted in an enormous safety boost in time for the 2103 school year.
“The LNP went to the last election promising to boost safety with this program at 75 schools.
“But now – as kids return to school today – the Transport Minister has announced we will see just 15 schools with increased safety this year.
“The former Labor Government committed to rolling out this program at 114 schools by the end of 2012 at a cost of $5.25 million.
“The LNP Government has kept that commitment to just three of those schools, added another 12 but stripped the funding from 111.
“And each of those 15 schools named by the Transport Minister is located in an electorate where the local LNP member is clearly feeling the backlash of this government’s brutal program of cutting jobs and services.”
Late last year the former Labor Government announced the package including:
- Standardised school zone hours from 7am to 9am and 2pm to 4pm, except where a school requires extended operating hours
- The introduction of all-day school zones and flashing light signage at all split-campus schools
- The installation of multi-lane school zones with vehicle activated signs.
“Everyone is responsible for their own actions when driving through school zones but it’s also the responsibility of governments to ensure kids are safe,” Mr Pitt said.
“Speeding drivers pose an obvious risk to kids and the great majority of those drivers who are caught are not merely exceeding the speed limit by a couple of kilometres – most cases involve speeds of between 13kpm and 20kpm above the limit.
“The LNP knows flashing lights are an important safety precaution, which is why they went to the last election promising to install them in 75 schools.
“Now we discover this is yet another sneaky con, another unfunded LNP election commitment, which the Newman Government will not deliver.”
Far North schools to miss out are:
- Good Counsel College (Innisfail)
- St Therese’s Primary School (Bentley Park)
- Holy Cross Catholic Primary
- Smithfield State High School
- Redlynch State College
- Balaclava State School
- Cairns West State School
- St Francis Xavier
- Mother of Good Counsel School (Cairns)
- Saint Augustine’s College
- St Gerard Majella Catholic Primary School
- Trinity Bay State High School and TAFE
- Woree State School
- Woree State High School
- Western Cape College