Yarra Ranges Council has urged the state government to take action to secure the safety of children at 101 school crossings across the municipality.
Yarra Ranges Mayor, Cr Jim Child, said the school crossing supervisor program across the state was no longer fit for purpose and an urgent review of the system is needed.
There are 69 schools in the Yarra Ranges and 101 school crossings that assist students, parents, carers and the general public in crossing safely during busy school times.
The call for a review comes as a new survey of 24 councils across the state shows that the school crossing supervisor program – deemed essential for the safety of Victorian schoolchildren – is under intense pressure.
The survey found that:
- 97 per cent of councils have unsupervised crossing sessions
- 82 per cent regularly face crossing supervisor staff shortages, and
- 87 per cent consider the system no longer fit for purpose
“Children are some of our most vulnerable road users so it’s so important that we get the best school crossing supervisor program possible to ensure their safety,” Cr Child said.
Issues with the school crossing supervisor program in the Yarra Ranges include:
- crossing supervisor staff shortages
- regular unsupervised school crossings
- unsustainable State Government funding model that puts increasing financial pressure on Councils
Cr Childs aid there were many hidden costs for Council – which is being squeezed by soaring inflation – including outgoings for uniforms, medical checks, working-with-children checks, training, program co-ordination and administration.
“With more than 100 school crossings in our municipality, we obviously need a lot of supervisors but too often we simply don’t have enough for every day they are needed.”
“That is why we are calling on the State Government to fulfil its responsibilities to our school children by doing a thorough review of the current system, working closely with us to deliver a solution and funding the cost of the school crossing supervisor program in the Yarra Ranges.”
“Only a thorough government review will properly identify all the issues and, where necessary, provide the practical on-the-ground 21st century solutions the system needs.”
“In 2016 the State Government made a commitment to the community to undertake a broad strategic review into the movement and safety of school students. Now is the time for that review to finally happen.”