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Mayors Message - 7 February 2023

Mayors Message - 7 February 2023

Tuesday 7 February 2023
Cr Michael Whelan

Thousands of Bass Coast children returned to schools last week, which I am sure made many parents happy, and draws attention to the amazing service to our community by school crossing supervisors.

Our team of school crossing supervisors are dedicated and hardworking, come rain, hail or shine they continue to provide a much-needed road safety program for our children.

Bass Coast currently have 12 school crossings that service 10 schools across the shire, with 18 dedicated school crossing supervisors that work hard to staff these locations.

We are seeking the support of our community to help promote awareness and inspire safety around our school crossings and affectively change driver behaviour to ensure road safety for our children and school crossing staff who support them.

Safe routes to schools are a priority for Bass Coast Shire Council – and all councils across the state - but sadly a lack of support and funding certainty from the Victorian Government means delivery of a safe, sustainable program is becoming very difficult.

Issues with the program are driven by severe school crossing staff shortages - including staff being seconded from other duties – due to the lack of state funding. At least 15 councils across Melbourne and surrounds are currently looking for lollipop people.

The short-term nature of the State funding commitments and the failure to maintain a true partnership with Council makes planning and delivering the program extremely challenging.

At this point in time, councils have no commitment from the Victorian Government to fund the service beyond term 2 this year.

Every year, councils must wait for the State Budget to be handed down in May to learn whether the service will be funded and what the State contribution will be.

Bass Coast Shire Council along with Councils from across the State, strongly urge the Victorian Government to provide sufficient funding to secure the future of the stressed school crossings program.

There is a significant opportunity to deliver a safer and more cost-effective solution for children travelling to and from school and we are seeking a true partnership between the State Government and councils. Unfortunately to date, the Victorian Government has continued to refuse to invest in such a critical partnership.