Clayton Barr, MP State Member for the Electorate of Cessnock is concerned that incorrect media reports earlier this week, at a Liberal Candidate gimmick, will put students’ lives at risk. It was reported that “the NSW Government is celebrating the finish of work to install flashing lights outside every school in the region” but Mr Barr is concerned that this could be creating a false confidence in drivers.
“For anybody that read that article or heard that story on radio, they may be driving around schools today assuming that no flashing light means no school and no need to reduce speed; instead of reading the clear but non-flashing 40km/h signs” said Mr Barr.
There are still 6 local government areas in the Hunter that have not yet had all school zones fitted with flashing lights. The NSW Transport website clearly shows that work to install flashing lights at remaining schools in the Dungog, Muswellbrook, Singleton and the Upper Hunter Council areas will not begin until August 2015. In addition, similar work to finalise all schools in the Cessnock and Port Stephens Council areas will not begin until November 2015.
“Half of the Hunter’s Council’s and three quarters of the Hunters land geography still has schools that do not have flashing lights” said Mr Barr. “Drivers cannot be lazy or lulled into a false sense of certainty based on earlier media reports and political campaigning” he continued.
“The errors in reporting seem to stem from a media gimmick organised by a Liberal Party Candidate in Charlestown earlier this week and if he is the source of the error he needs to be condemned for putting children’s lives at risk simply because he did not do his homework prior to his desperate bid for attention” said Mr Barr.
“I have no problem with the Coalition Government seeking to take credit for the continuation of the flashing light roll-out across the state, started in 2006 by the former Labor Government, and indeed I commend them for it. But there is no excuse for the errors that have been made this week” said Mr Barr.
“I have taken calls from frustrated, irate and confused constituents who have been led to believe that all Politicians think that “the work has been done”, so in effect I and I am sure several of my colleagues are paying the price for someone else’s error” continued Mr Barr. “Perhaps an apology and a withdrawal of comments would be the best path forward for the Liberal Candidate”.