I bring to the attention of the House a road safety issue that is of great concern to my community. This issue has lingered for too long and despite repeated requests and even an acknowledgment by the Government that safety needs improving, nothing has been done. This House should condemn the Government for its inability to improve safety at two pedestrian crossings on Frederick Street in Ashfield. Those crossings are at the intersections of Henry Street and John Street. Both intersections have been the site of numerous accidents and near misses over the last few years. Frederick Street is already one of the busiest roads in my electorate. It provides a connection to City West Link, Parramatta Road, Liverpool Road and Georges River Road, and traffic on this road will get worse when the M4 East stage of WestConnex is completed early in 2019.
I make it clear to the House that I would much prefer to work with the Government in a conciliatory and cooperative way to address this important local issue. However, the Government's continual refusal to act on this issue and to solve this problem has left me no choice other than to bring this issue to the Parliament. I genuinely and sincerely fear that there will be another serious accident at one of these crossings. The residents of my area who have raised this issue with me so many times over more than two years have also reached a point of utter frustration. I thank all those who have spoken to me about their concerns and who have made approach after approach to the Minister, to the Roads and Maritime Authority [RMS] and to the Inner West Council. I thank Inner West Council because they have also been lobbying on this issue but they, too, have run into a brick wall. I have seen emails from residents that date back more than two years. These email trails show confusion as promises have been made, funding has been allocated and then removed, and plans have apparently been completed but then in other emails have returned to draft form.
This year alone, I wrote to the Minister for Roads about this issue in May, in September and in early November. In the response to the May letter I was told that detailed design works were completed but in other conversations with RMS staff since that time I have been told the designs are still being finished. So, what is it? Are the designs finished? Are they underway? When will this work start? The Minister has refused even to answer my last two letters which requested she publicly release a timetable for the project. Until we have it in writing and until the Minister gives us a commitment as to when this work will start, when it will be finished, and when safety will be improved at the John Street and Henry Street crossings on Frederick Street, we cannot believe a word that the Government says.
While this Government dithers and delays, the accidents keep happening. In May this year, a student at De La Salle College in Ashfield was hit by a car while using the John Street pedestrian crossing. This incident followed a number of other safety incidents over recent years. RMS figures show that 30 people were seriously injured in crashes on Frederick Street in 2015 and 2016. Many of those incidents occurred at intersections.
The Henry Street and John Street crossings are used by local residents and also students and families from The Infants Home, Burwood Girls High School, Croydon Public School, De La Salle and Bethlehem colleges and Ashfield Public School. It is appalling that a $17 billion motorway is being constructed 100 metres from one of those dangerous crossings in Henry Street. How can that $17 billion motorway be constructed when the Government cannot find the funding for a crossing that is used daily by students and their families? The issue has become so significant that we local residents have been painting turning lines at the John Street crossing in a desperate attempt to do the job for the Roads and Maritime Services.
I thank local residents, who I will not name in this place but who contact me regularly about the safety of Frederick Street. Those residents genuinely care about the safety of our community. I also acknowledge the work of Councillor Lucille McKenna and Action for a Safer Ashfield in their dedication and commitment to see a safer Ashfield for everyone. I urge the Government to stop dithering and to get on with delivering these vital upgrades to ensure the safety of pedestrians in our area. We simply cannot have another accident at one of those crossings.