SARAH petition presented to State Parliament
BY KRYSTYNA POLLARD
22 May, 2012
The 23,000 signatures his road safety petition attracted in less than eight weeks represented “1000 for every year of my daughter’s life”, according to Peter Frazer.
The Frazer family from Springwood joined the Clark family from the Southern Highlands to hand over the petition to NSW Acting Premier Andrew Stoner at State Parliament on May 15, three months to the day since 23-year-old Sarah Frazer and tow truck driver Geoff Clark were killed on the Hume Highway by a passing truck after Sarah’s car broke down.
Standing on the steps of Sydney’s Parliament House, Peter, wife Judy, and Sarah’s siblings Jess, Bec, Ben and Daniel joined Geoff’s wife Samantha and the couple’s four young children in an emotional handover of what Mr Stoner called one of the largest petitions the state had ever seen.
The petition called for breakdown lanes on major roads and highways to meet minimum standards, as well as new laws requiring drivers to slow down and move over where safe when they saw emergency flashing lights.
While an emotional Jess thanked all those across the nation who had shown their support for the petition, Peter said the case had rocked ordinary Australians because the tragedy could happen to anybody.
“What was different about Sarah’s and Geoff’s situation was that their horrific deaths shocked the Australian community because it highlighted that you could be killed just because your car overheats on Australia’s premier highway,” Peter told the media and about 100 family, friends and supporters on the day.
“It is a reasonable community expectation that all our major roads, highways and freeways should be built with a continuity of breakdown lanes that at least meet the Australian standard.
“. . . It is no longer morally acceptable to sacrifice people’s safety by placing them in harm’s way for an extra lane of pavement, nor is it morally acceptable to allow our first responders and emergency service personnel to be placed in harm’s way.
“Even to us it remains quite remarkable that the 23,000 signatures were achieved in less than eight weeks. Indeed, the 23,000 are 1000 for every year of my daughter’s life.”
Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the families were emergency service workers including representatives of the NSW Fire Brigade Employees Union (FBEU), the Police Association of NSW and the Emergency Medical Service Protection Association NSW supporting the call for new laws to protect first response workers.
“It’s an issue for us because it’s our workplace,” FBEU state secretary Jim Casey told those present.
“Every time you see a traffic accident, tow truck operators, paramedics, firefighters and police are at work.”
Mr Stoner said the issue was “above politics” and both the government and opposition would work towards a solution to improve road safety.
“Our government introduced new parliamentary rules that require a proper debate when we get a petition containing over 10,000 signatures,” he said. “That debate will happen fairly shortly in the coming sitting weeks of this parliament and I look forward to the outcomes of that debate.”