On 18 October I joined Brooke Skilton and many other Pearcedale Primary School parents and students to call on the Andrews government to install 40-kilometres-an-hour flashing speed signs around Pearcedale Primary School. While at the school I was presented with 500 petitions signed by concerned parents and community members calling for the urgent installation of the flashing signs at Baxter-Tooradin Road.
The installation of flashing 40-kilometres-an-hour signs around schools has been roundly acclaimed by road safety experts and school communities as being a very effective program for improving road safety around Victorian school precincts.
Pearcedale Primary has a current student enrolment of 730 students, and parents have become increasingly concerned about the high number and speed of vehicles passing within metres of the school property. Cars and children are never a good mix, and while reducing the speed limit to 40 kilometres is no guarantee, it will give drivers and our children a better chance of seeing and avoiding each other.
Even though the Pearcedale Primary School satisfies the same criteria used to fund the installation of flashing 40-kilometres-an-hour speed signs at hundreds of schools around the state, including the Baxter Primary School, located on exactly the same road and less than 6 kilometres away, the government refused to provide funding to install the signs in Pearcedale.
I have contacted both relevant ministers, the Minister for Roads and Road Safety and the Minister for Education, on several occasions. Their responses have been that the policy to install flashing speed signs around schools was the program of a previous government, that all the funding had been expended and that they were not going to provide any further funding.
This situation is surprising, given that one vocal supporter of the program — up until very recently at least — was the Minister for Education and member for Monbulk. Earlier this year the member for Monbulk praised this program, pointing out how critical it was to improving the safety of children around school precincts. Now, just months later, his government is refusing to fund it.