East Gippsland Shire Council is advocating for the Victorian Government to fully fund the school crossing supervision program.
Council currently employs 23 school crossing supervisors to staff 16 school crossings across the shire, with the cost subsidised by only 41 per cent (average across the past five years) by the Victorian Government. In addition to the staffing of the crossings, Council is also responsible for the maintenance of the crossings, associated infrastructure when they are located on a Council-controlled road, uniforms, medical checks, working with children checks, training, program coordination, and administration.
Mayor Cr Mark Reeves said school crossing supervision was a vital service for the community, ensuring families get to and from school safely at some of the busiest times on local roads.
“It’s a service appreciated by hundreds of families across our shire, and it’s a service we provide despite it not being a core function of local government. It’s time for the Government to step up and fully fund the program and support local families.”
The issue is one of Council’s key advocacy priorities.
“We've joined councils across Victoria to call for an urgent review of the school crossings system,” Cr Reeves said.
“A survey of 40 Victorian councils (including East Gippsland) has shown that 82 per cent of councils are facing crossing supervisor shortages, and 87 per cent no longer consider the current system safe for the community or staff. Every Victorian council depends on Government funding for its crossings.
“We have joined councils across the state in calling for an urgent Victorian Government review of the school crossing system.
“An urgent review into the program is needed and should consider an improved model that includes funding, recruitment and retention of supervisors, safety improvements, use of technology at crossings and the effectiveness of the built environment,” Cr Reeves said.
“We need a minimum number of crossing supervisors to have are liable program that our community can be confident in. When there is a shortage of supervisors, it means other municipal staff must leave other duties to support safe school crossings.”
Council is calling on the Victorian Government to:
“We are one of several regional councils to support this campaign. The Government previously made a commitment in 2016 to undertake a broad strategic review into the movement and safety of school students. It’s now time for that to happen,” Cr Reeves said.