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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 8 Hansard (17 August) . . Page.. 3367..

MS LE COUTEUR (continuing):

particular needs, the committee believes that the report may be of interest to the Standing Committee on Education, Training and Youth Affairs on the basis of, firstly, the remit of that standing committee and, secondly, the possible relevancy to its current inquiry into the needs of ACT students with a disability. The committee has written to the Standing Committee on Education, Training and Youth Affairs to bring the report to its attention.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.29 to 2 pm.

Questions without notice

Gungahlin Drive extension—bridge collapse

MR SESELJA: My question is to the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services. It relates to the bridge collapse on the GDE duplication over the Barton Highway. Minister, to the best of your current knowledge, what were the circumstances that led to the bridge collapse?

MR STANHOPE: I thank the Leader of the Opposition for the question. Indeed, it is a question that relates to a most serious incident that occurred in relation to roadworks at the intersection of the GDE and the Barton Highway. We are aware, each of us, broadly, of the circumstance of that. It was a most shocking occurrence, a dreadful accident and, indeed, the sort of accident, the sort of occurrence, that should not occur.

We are all aware that, as a result of the incident, 15 men working at the site received injuries. Two of those men remain in hospital. I am sure all members would join with me in wishing all those people affected by this accident a good and speedy recovery from their injuries and the trauma which they have suffered.

As to the specifics of Mr Seselja's question—at this point what knowledge or understanding do I have, essentially, of the cause of the accident—I would have to say that at this stage I have received no advice that points to the cause of the occurrence, the accident, the collapse. Members would be aware, however, that, under the auspices of WorkSafe ACT and Roads ACT, an independent structural engineer from the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation has been engaged to undertake an independent assessment of the site, with a view to determining exactly and precisely how the accident or the failure occurred. It is imperative that we do learn, that we do understand.

I am also advised that there will, in concert with or associated with or at the same time, be three other expert assessments of the site and of the issue. I am advised that an engineering expert/consultant has been engaged by the insurance company to undertake an independent assessment. WorkSafe ACT itself has engaged a consultant to develop a second independent view, apart from that which will be provided by the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation. I also understand, although I do not have detail of this at this stage, the CFMEU, the union representing the workers injured at the site, has also engaged an independent engineering consultant.

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