Inspire : Public Works Nov Dec 2013
41 WHAT ORIGINALLY DREW YOU TO A CAREER IN ROAD SAFETY? I completed a communications degree at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst, and my ﬁrst job was running the Public Relations department at Jenolan Caves. I wanted to stay in the country – I’m a country girl, my parents live in Blayney [central NSW] – but I didn’t like living and working on site at Jenolan Caves. Then [in 2002] the job as road safety ofﬁcer came up, working across Parkes, Forbes and Lachlan Shire councils, which I successfully applied for. I like living in the country. It's not as crazy as the city, and it’s nice that I get to go to work and do something that is saving lives and helping people. YOU PRESENTED A PAPER AT THE RECENT DARWIN CONFERENCE ABOUT MANAGING ROAD SAFETY AT THE ANNUAL PARKES ELVIS FESTIVAL. CAN YOU RUN THROUGH THE KEY POINTS? The Parkes Elvis Festival is held in January each year. It started in 1993 and has since grown from 300 attendees to more than 18,000 – almost doubling the local population over the ﬁve days. It was in 2008 when council realised we had some real safety problems with the Street Parade. We established a Parade Planning Group to look at the issues and put together a strategy to address them – all in line with the new Safe System principles. Our safety strategies are transportable and can be adopted by any council for any street parade. We originally presented the paper at the IPWEA NSW Division conference in 2012, where it won the GA Taylor Medal for best paper, which is why we were able to present it again this year in Dar win. YOU'RE INVOLVED IN A NUMBER OF COMMUNITY ROAD SAFETY PROGRAMS. CAN YOU GIVE ANY EXAMPLES OF PROJECTS THAT HAVE BEEN PARTICULARLY SUCCESSFUL? We run workshops every year for the parents of learner drivers, to talk them through the licensing system and all the tests young people have to do to get their full driver's licence: what the restrictions are, how to ﬁll the log book in, and so on. Parents that come to the workshops love them, and it’s nice to be helping the community. Teaching someone to drive is really stressful, so it’s rewarding to be able to help people through that process. One of the other projects I have implemented was called ‘Hey you kids, protect your lids’, looking at bike safety for kids, which we piloted in Condobolin. I ran obser vational surveys out the front of schools to see how many kids were wearing their bike helmets, which I did every three weeks while the program was r unning. The schools were teaching the bike safety curriculum at the same time, the police were running a rewards program, and we also held a ‘design a helmet’ competition, in which the winner could have their helmet made for every kid, which we then handed out for free to every student. Helmet-wearing went up 70 per cent as a result of the project, and we’ve seen similar increases when we’ve run the project in other locations across the council. It's been really successful. WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT OF YOUR WORK? Trying to prioritise what to do! There’s a bit of a balancing act between the three councils to make sure everybody is getting the same amount of attention. And then you’re also balancing the needs of the Roads and Maritime Ser vices, because they provide some funding towards the projects as well. And on top of that, you have to try and maintain a work/life balance. That balancing act is the main challenge. HOW IMPORTANT IS COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT AS A FACTOR IN YOUR WORK? Community involvement is key, and it’s one of the things I love most about my job. No two days are the same; I work with everyone from parents on how to use child restraints to senior citizens driving motorised gophers. I get to work with a real cross- section of the community, which is great. ••• I like living in the country. It's nice that I get to go to work and do something that is saving lives and helping people.
Public Works Professional Sept - Oct 2013
Public Works Jan Feb 2014