Safety first: girl’s death prompts school tree audit

Arborists in western Sydney can expect their phones to ring more frequently following a Department of Education directive to all NSW public schools to review the condition of trees on their grounds.

The call comes after year 4 pupil Bridget Wright was killed by a falling gum tree branch at Pitt Town Public School on February 21.

A statement from the department said all schools were to engage a qualified arborist as soon as possible to review trees that overhang school buildings and playgrounds, or any other areas used by staff and students.

‘‘Based on the arborist reports, the department will work with local councils so that necessary work required for safety reasons may be undertaken,’’ it said.

‘‘Priority is to be given to tall trees and gum trees.

‘‘It is anticipated that the reviews will be completed by the end of the second term of school.’’ 

The department said it would cover the cost of any work required for safety reasons so school operating budgets are not affected.

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