Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (6 June) . . Page.. 2017..
MR QUINLAN: Yes, one of those-with Mr Egan dipping very deeply into the higher-than-expected returns on conveyancing within New South Wales. Does that ring any bells?
MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Treasurer, since the announcement of the New South Wales budget on Tuesday, have you asked your department for an assessment of how to keep the ACT's payroll tax system at least competitive with New South Wales?
MR QUINLAN: I have asked my department for an assessment of the comparative position with payroll tax around Australia. I have an informal briefing here, and a briefing on the New South Wales budget. Of course I asked for it. Wouldn't you?
MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, my question, through you, is to the Minister for Urban Services. Minister, I understand that, last year, Roads ACT commissioned an assessment of ACT bridges. What are the outcomes from that assessment?
MR WOOD: As members would appreciate, the majority of the territory's stock of bridges have been constructed since the early 1960s. Since that time, the load-carrying standards for bridge design have changed to accommodate the modern, heavier commercial vehicles, to such an extent that there has been an increase in size of over 250 per cent since the 1960s.
In May 2000, all state and territory ministers agreed to the higher mass limit, which is expected to be progressively introduced on identified heavy vehicle routes. The national heavy mass limit reforms are targeted at more efficient transport of goods throughout Australia.
In line with what is happening elsewhere, Roads ACT commissioned, in 2001, an assessment of the bridges it manages, to establish the capacity against the current load standards-as distinct from earlier standards-and to assist in developing both the routine maintenance and bridge upgrade projects to be funded through the capital works program. The final report was provided to Roads ACT in February of this year. It recommended the need to improve the load-carrying capacity of some 35 bridges.
MR HARGREAVES: I have a supplementary question. Minister, for road users in the ACT, what are the implications of this study?
MR WOOD: Roads ACT have reviewed the priorities within the maintenance program for 2002-03 and have identified $2.5 million, specifically for upgrading bridges to the required standards. Funds of $0.25 million have also been identified in the 2002-03 capital works program for the Morshead Drive duplication project, to upgrade the bridge over Woolshed Creek. This approach will enable an upgrade, within the next 12 months, of 26 of the 35 bridges identified in the assessment report.
While this program will be progressed to upgrade the bridges on a priority basis over the next 12 months, as quickly as practical, there is still a need to implement load limits on all but one of the locations, as a matter of urgency. This is necessary to address public