MR DIMOPOULOS (Oakleigh) — I wish to raise a matter for the Minister for Roads and Road Safety. The action that I seek is for the minister to come again to the intersection of Grange and Oakleigh roads in Carnegie to inspect the installation of the new traffic lights funded by this government and see firsthand how these traffic lights are helping to reduce accidents and allow pedestrians to cross Grange Road safely.
Just by way of background, the Grange-Oakleigh roads intersection has been the site of many accidents over many years. It is a notorious blackspot. In the last five years there have been eight accidents, resulting in three serious injuries. These are just the accidents that have been reported; we know there are many more — and near misses are an almost daily occurrence. I often see the telltale remnants of a car crash there — glass on the road, oil spills and parts of bumper bars left on the nature strip — or a smashed-up car waiting to be towed away. I am told that in the past people’s front fences have been heavily damaged too.
This is a very busy area, with 16 000 vehicles using Grange Road and around 4500 using Oakleigh Road every day. The intersection is next to Ormond Community Kindergarten and only a short distance from Kilvington Grammar School, Katandra School, Glen Huntly Primary School and the Ormond train station. So you can imagine the amount of foot traffic, particularly young kids, struggling to get across a busy Grange Road every day. There have been many campaigns in the past to rid our community of this blackspot, and it is something that my predecessor, Ann Barker, worked very hard to achieve. But, pardon the pun, there was always a roadblock somewhere. That has now changed.
Firstly, I would like to thank the minister for his commitment and dedication to road safety in Victoria. In 2015 I asked the minister to visit the intersection of Grange and Oakleigh roads, which he subsequently did. He recognised the need to fix this intersection, with the likely installation of traffic lights as suggested by VicRoads being the most appropriate solution. But in order to do this, it needed funding. After all the years of waiting and all the campaigning, in just the second Andrews government budget, funding was allocated specifically to fix this intersection by installing traffic lights. As of today works are underway and are expected to be completed in the coming weeks. So I have to pay tribute to the minister for working with me and the community. He did not just listen to an argument, he looked at it, and when it came to the crunch he delivered. You cannot ask for more than that.
I would also like to thank the Treasurer. As he would know, this is something I have been in his ear about for some time. Finally, I would like to thank the community. They have lived with this intersection for too long. They have joined in the campaigns. They have lobbied. They have collected signatures on petitions. It is always heartening to see real community activism which is rewarded in the end.
One statistic that is hard to measure is how many lives you have changed or indeed saved with these individual blackspot fixes. But despite that, you know that they do change lives. They do actually save lives. There are the accidents that never occur, the injuries never sustained. So while they will never know it — and that is a good thing — drivers and pedestrians get to go home to their families. So while some might say it is only a set of traffic lights, it is more than that, much more.
On that note, I look forward to welcoming the minister back to Carnegie to see the change that we helped to create. I thank my colleagues for their indulgence.