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Speech – Grace and Jessica’s Road Smart Day (3 August 2010)

Mr POWELL (Glass House–LNP) (9.44 pm):

Last year my home town of Palmwoods was rocked by some incredibly tragic news. Twins Grace and Jessica Hornby, then aged five, and their grandmother, or ‘Mimi’ as they affectionately referred to her, Denise Mansell, were killed in a horrific road accident in Woombye on Friday, 8 May. It was a girls’ night out. The twins, dressed in matching fairy dresses, were returning from dinner in Nambour. It was a sleepover night at Mimi’s and they were looking forward to watching a movie and polishing fingernails. Devastatingly, as Mrs Mansell’s vehicle turned across Nambour Connection Road into Blackall Street, Woombye it was struck by another vehicle. Grace, Jessica, Mrs Mansell and the driver of the other vehicle died instantly. Only a passenger in the second vehicle survived.

Grace’s and Jessica’s parents, Michael and Kelly, continue to come to grips with their loss. Who would not? As a father of five recounting the details of that evening, I struggle to comprehend this senseless and unnecessary loss of life. But Michael and Kelly very quickly looked at the broader picture, too: through this tragedy there was an opportunity–an opportunity to remind the community at large of the importance of road safety, of road smartness. Last year on 12 September, Grace’s and Jessica’s birthday, the communities of Palmwoods and Woombye were bedecked in pink and purple, the twins’ favourite colours. The colourful display aimed to serve as a striking visual reminder to ‘take care and be aware’ when on the roads.

This year Michael and Kelly Hornby have plans to take Grace and Jessica’s Road Smart Day across the state. I did not–and I do not–hesitate in supporting their cause. Earlier this year, I supported the Hornbys in their request to the Minister for Education to promote the Road Smart Day in all schools across the state. I would like to put on the record my thanks to the minister for his support of this initiative. I understand that, as I speak, the education department is promoting the initiative through its various electronic communication channels. I, too, encourage principals and P&Cs to support Grace and Jessica’s Road Smart Day. As a tribute to the girls, show off your pink and purple and take a moment to remember all victims of road trauma.

I am getting in early and displaying my pink and purple tribute this evening. I call on all members of this House to encourage their local schools as well. I have taken the liberty of distributing a copy of this flyer to each of you. I ask that each of you promotes the idea of a Road Smart Day in your electorates–a day when we remember to take care, be aware and save lives on our roads. I call on each member to reflect personally on the information contained in this flyer. Some of the suggestions I hope go without saying–slow down, show respect for others, drive sober–but others are temptations we all face. Leave your mobile phone alone. As Michael Hornby said to me just the other day, before you consider reaching for that phone, think of your kids, think of my kids, leave it alone and keep safe on the road.

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