State boosts support for school crossing supervisors

CONCERNED: Quarry Hill Primary School parent Tony Smith ensures his daughter Emma makes it safely across Peel Street, which is unsupervised. Picture: DARREN HOWE
CONCERNED: Quarry Hill Primary School parent Tony Smith ensures his daughter Emma makes it safely across Peel Street, which is unsupervised. Picture: DARREN HOWE

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A new school crossing program funding model has been warmly received by the City of Greater Bendigo. 

The state government will share equal responsibility with local councils for funding school crossing supervisors from July 1. 

Concerns raised by a Quarry Hill Primary School parent and school council member about an unsupervised crossing at Peel Street highlighted the complexities of the program’s funding earlier this month.

The program is the shared responsibility of VicRoads and local governments, though the City of Greater Bendigo said the burden of funding the program had largely fallen to councils in recent years

Both parking and animal services manager Bruce Duncan and deputy mayor Rod Fyffe said the state government’s contribution had dropped from 50 per cent to about 20 per cent.

The City of Greater Bendigo was among local government areas calling for the state government to hold up its end of the deal.

“This decision demonstrates that the state government has listened to feedback from councils on this issue,” Mr Duncan said. 

“Providing school crossing supervisors is an important service to the community and is a shared responsibility for both local and state government.”

The state government’s announcement also included a broader strategic review into the movement and safety of school students.

The review will be led by Transport for Victoria, a new central transport agency announced by the state government in June. 

Its findings are expected to be delivered in early 2018. 

“Safety of children around schools is paramount and school crossing supervisors are some of our most recognised road safety ambassadors,” Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan said.

Quarry Hill Primary School parent Tony Smith’s petition for a crossing supervisor to be stationed at Peel Street remains live on website Change.org.

Almost 200 people have signed the online petition, with further signatures on printed forms. 

“Eventually a child will be hit by a car,” Mr Smith wrote. 

“It is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when.”

Almost 200 respondents to a poll on the Bendigo Advertiser website said they would not feel safe letting a primary school student use an unsupervised school crossing.