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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (29 March) . . Page.. 1165..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

construction safety audit of the affected parts of the Federal Highway. Preliminary advice from the audit is that, while a number of items were listed for further action, drainage and the grade of this section of the road pavement may be the major factors contributing to vehicles losing traction and sliding off the road. In the interim, we have changed the speed limit on the northbound carriageway to 70 kilometres an hour; it has been reduced from 100 kilometres an hour. There are two additional "Slippery when wet" warning signs. We have some warning signs advising of a traffic hazard and some barricades to assist in identifying the location of the potential hazards. Once we have the final report, we will work out what needs to be done.

MR KAINE: I have a supplementary question. The minister did not respond to that part of my question that related to liability for accidents that occur there before the reconstruction is complete. I wonder whether he would care to answer that. Also, will the minister assure the Assembly that the full cost of the reconstruction of this part of the road-the faulty section of the pavement-will be borne by the original contractor, not by the taxpayer?

MR SMYTH: The department has advised the Department of Transport and Regional Services of the situation. Given that the road is part of the national highway system and is funded by the Commonwealth, we will be looking to them to make good repairs.

Mr Kaine: You still did not answer the bit about liability.

MR SMYTH: I am sorry. It belongs to the national road network. My understanding, and I will check and confirm for the member, is that it is a Commonwealth liability.

Territory Plan variations

MR CORBELL: My question also is to the Minister for Urban Services. Minister, this morning on ABC radio, in reference to the motion passed yesterday by the Assembly not permitting the release of the new ACT code of residential development and associated polices as a draft variation to the Territory Plan, you stated that you do not have the legal authority to direct the ACT planning authority to stop the implementation of a draft variation to the Territory Plan. Minister, section 37 (1) of the Land (Planning and Environment) Act 1991 gives you the explicit power to give the planning authority written directions. What is preventing you from exercising the power under section 37 (1) in order to comply with the motion passed by the Assembly yesterday? Can you give the Assembly an update on your actions in relation to that motion?

MR SMYTH: Following the passing of the motion last night, I was advised by officers that there was the potential that I actually did not have that power. I sought legal advice this morning. I understand that that is still being looked at. As soon as I have an answer, which I hope to have by the end of business today, I will inform the Assembly of the process. The government intends to comply with the intent of the motion. However, we have to do so appropriately.

MR CORBELL: Minister, why are you not able to give a written direction under section 37 (1) of the land act?


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