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East Derwent Primary School and Jordan River Learning Federation - Community Safety Maps

1 November 2017

[6.05 p.m.]
Ms O'CONNOR (Denison - Leader of the Greens) - Mr Speaker, I wish to share 
with the House a really fantastic group of students, their teacher and 
Holly Sluiter [TBC] from the Salvation Army and Communities for Children 
who came along on Monday to present to me some of the work they have been 
doing on community safety. They came to my office having been to see my 
colleague, Mr Bacon, and giving a similar presentation to him. Certainly 
the students from East Derwent Primary School and everyone who worked with 
them should be immensely proud.

This project started in 2016 when the East Derwent Primary School worked 
with Colony 47, Red Cross, the Salvation Army and the Smith Family to 
create community safety maps. The students were asked about their 
neighbourhood and the places where they felt safe, the places where they 
felt a bit unsafe and those where they felt very unsafe. The maps were 
marked with green for safety, orange for not certain and red for unsafe.

Everyone in this place would agree that every child has the right to feel 
loved, safe and wanted. The students of East Derwent Primary School 
identified there were places in and around where they lived where they 
definitely did not feel safe and the particular place that was identified 
was an underpass. The students identified safe and unsafe areas in their 
community and had really good discussions about how you work together to 
improve safety. Maps and ideas were shared for improving safety in 
Bridgewater at a number of events including school assembly, a Brighton 
Alive community meeting and with politicians at Parliament House in Hobart.

In 2017 a new student representative council was elected who decided to 
continue with this work of community safety. They collected photos of the 
underpass which showed the area was dark, dirty, littered with broken 
glass, covered in graffiti and cobwebs. There were also dangerous steep 
drops down to the underpass from the banks of the edge. I should be clear 
that I am reading from the presentation report these delightful and 
motivated students gave to me on Monday. They say: 

With the help of the Salvation Army and Centacare we met with local 
council and proposed a plan to clean and paint the underpass. We also 
worked with the community centre who said they helped with removing rude 
words or with contacting council straight away if dangerous rubbish was 
found.

The local council approved the students' plan for the underpass. They 
held a footy colours and meat pie day to raise money for the underpass. 
They say they surveyed the whole school about what they would like to see 
on the underpass. Popular responses were children playing, nature and 
fidget spinners.

The Salvation Army and Centacare helped the students find a local artist 
who used the sketches that were provided to plan out the mural. For 
students day they then painted some of them spent time in the holidays 
working hard too. The council agreed to put in barriers to improve safety.

The transformation of this little underpass, this little pocket in 
Bridgewater through which the children were not feeling safe before, has 
been extraordinary. I know you are not supposed to have props in the 
House but the contrast between a dark and scary looking place and this 
colourful, vibrant, welcoming and safe looking underpass has been 
extraordinary. It is a testament to the community-mindedness of those 
students, their desire to contribute and to be part of positive solutions 
and the fact that they were heard. That is one of the most important 
things with children. When they have a concern, when they say something 
to us like, 'I don't feel safe', we must heed that. 

The community at Jordan River Learning Federation 
and East Derwent Primary School should be warmly commended for the 
transformation of this underpass on their way to school. The fact that 
students and teachers were volunteering during the school holidays only 
reinforces what can happen to transform your community when a group of 
committed people get together with a group of determined young people.