Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Mr Deputy Speaker, I speak on behalf of at least 1000 parents from the Lauderdale parents, grandparents and carers of young children who walk to and from the Lauderdale Primary School each day along an incredibly dangerous stretch of the South Arm Road. For years those parents have been trying to find a safer solution for their kids. It has come to a head recently because the school has grown so large, so fast. It is now one of the largest primary schools in Tasmania.
At the invitation of a parent, Clare Lanson (TBC), I went to have a look for myself a couple of weeks ago. Frankly, I was absolutely shocked at how frightening the conditions were and the speed of trucks, cars and other vehicles on that road. They were travelling only about one to one- and-a-half metres away from children who were streaming out of school, completely clueless and unaware of the danger that was right next to them on the road. With a parent I witnessed a tall child, a 5th grader, who fell off his bike onto the footpath because his shoelaces were not tied. He was fortunate enough to fall away from the direction of the traffic, not into the direction of the traffic. I shudder to think what could have happened if he had done that.
It is clear that it is a dangerous stretch of road. At the moment cars and trucks can travel past it at 70 to 80 kilometres per hour. I wrote to the minister - and I am pleased to say that Mr Tucker who is in the House - has listened to the community and is acting. He has made a commitment that he will refer the matter, as I recommended, for a short-term reduction in the speed limit to 40 kph so that the children will be safe until a longer-term solution can be found.
There are many options on the table including fenced infrastructure on the side of the road, diverting the road, putting alternative walking routes and extra carparks, all of which involve plenty of time and thinking. The most important thing is that there appears to be a commitment from the Government to take action on this issue to look after children's safety.
I am here today to make sure that the minister understands how many people in the community care about this as an issue. I seek leave of the House to table a non-conforming petition which has 905 signatures. I have shown it to the Opposition and I have shown it to the Leader for Government Business, both have agreed. With your leave, Mr Deputy Speaker, I will table this petition of 905 petitioners, an online petition, calling for safety for pedestrians and motorists between Lauderdale Primary and Ringwood Road.
Quite a number of people have made personal comments on that petition reinforcing the things I have already said, the things that I observe for myself, comments like 'My children cannot walk to school. I feel as if it is dangerous for them to navigate this section of the highway.' That was from a woman in Lauderdale. Another woman says, 'My eight-year-old child walks this stretch of road with his friends after school each day and I am constantly worried that there will be an accident due to the high speed limits and the closeness of cars to children'. Another woman from Clifton Beach said, 'Such a high volume of small children walking along this dangerous road is a tragic accident waiting to happen. I like to encourage my children to be active and walk this section to school but most days it feels less than safe to do so.' Another woman from the area said, 'My children are at risk. A road this close to school grounds with a 70 kilometre an hour speed limit at times is a tragic accident waiting to happen'.
I strongly support the minister who is both the minister for Education and Minister for Infrastructure in furthering this and making sure that we put safety as a first priority. I know the minister is personally committed to the Love 40 campaign and the safety of children. I thank him for his commitment to take action on this issue. On behalf of all of the parents, grandparents and carers at the school I really encourage him to make sure it happens sooner rather than later.