Council run-in over Monash crossings

OAKLEIGH rookie councillor Theo Zographos has attacked Monash mayor Micaela Drieberg for making "misleading" comments over potential fund cuts for school crossings in the city.

Cr Zographos, who has only been at the council table since October, last week criticised Cr Drieberg for politicising the issue of school crossings by "attacking" the state government.

His accusations shocked the mayor, who stood firmly by her comments.

"I don't think it's inaccurate. I don't think it's anything different from how we've advocated on different issues around Monash since I've been the mayor, so I'm surprised," Cr Drieberg said.

The stoush comes after VicRoads told Monash Council that 10 of the city's school crossings may lose funding because fewer children were using them.

SEE: Monash school crossings face cuts

Cr Drieberg argues that all crossings should be funded, regardless of the number of children using them. "The state government should find better ways of cutting its spending rather than zeroing in on a program that helps children stay safe."

But Cr Zographos said the mayor's comments were totally inaccurate.

"I think it's basically without credit that the mayor has said that the government will cut funding for school crossings because the criteria that VicRoads uses is quite clear, and it's been in place for some time," he said.

"The mayor knows that, but she's using the unfortunate situation to, in my opinion, attack the government and the attack is totally unwarranted.

"This is something that I think should be free of any politics."

VicRoads allocates crossing supervisor subsidies based on the number of children and cars at a crossing. Crossings that do not meet the criteria are left unfunded. VicRoads would not confirm which crossings in Monash could close.

Cr Zographos said he had no issue with the VicRoads policy and that if the mayor was serious about securing funding for all crossings in Monash, she should try to negotiate a policy reform with the government.

Cr Drieberg rejected the notion that funding cuts to school crossings should be based on numbers.

"The fact is that the funding going towards school-crossing supervisors is decreasing," she said. "Our stance is it doesn't make a difference how many children are using the crossing, that they need to be adequately supervised for their safety. That's the bottom line for us."

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