Page 2977 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 12 October 2022

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Further, the risk of extreme rainfall and flooding from La Niña is only exacerbated by climate change. Climate change has increased the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, which are placing our infrastructure assets under considerable strain. Ms Lawder’s motion blames a lack of road maintenance for potholes, but it is undeniable that extreme weather events are happening now and will continue into the future.

Damage caused by rain to the road network is not unique to the ACT. States and territories across the east coast of Australia are encountering significant increased rainfall and, consequently, similar damage to their road networks. You need only drive outside the ACT, down the Kings Highway to the coast or up the Hume to Sydney, to see the effect that the rain has had on New South Wales state roads and those managed by local government. The reality is that large amounts of water cause damage to road pavements.

When water gets under the road surface due to the heavy rainfall, as we have seen recently, it eats away at the road base, which means that the road surface can deteriorate and potholes can form. We see other road defects occurring as well. When potholes appear in the short term, road crews can apply a cold mix asphalt to fill in the pothole and improve safety quickly, until a longer term solution can be implemented.

To ensure good condition in the long term, Roads ACT will look at heavy patching in those areas, particularly where there are recurring potholes. This involves cutting up the road, removing the moisture and providing a new layer of hot-mix asphalt or repairing the road base. Using hot mix is a durable solution, but it is most effectively applied in the warmer months and it is dependent on clear weather. The high number of rain days during recent years, and over the last week in particular, has made this work very difficult.

In addition to repairing existing road defects, we are also focused on keeping our roads in good condition through the resurfacing and resealing program, with the program getting underway as we move into warmer weather. It is now just before that program gets underway. The reason that we have such an extensive annual road resurfacing program is to do what Ms Lawder is actually calling on us to do, which is to prevent damage. We already have a preventive program in place and, of course, we have a reactive program as well. We have to have both ends covered.

That preventive program extends the life of our roads. Resurfacing a road provides a longer term solution. It maintains the existing quality of the road by filling in cracks and avoiding the possibility of road defects appearing in the future. That is a big part of our program and we are about to get into that. Canberrans can expect that that will start occurring on roads throughout the ACT. There will be associated disruption with that, as we make road closures to allow those works to occur. I have just signed off on letters which will be sent out very soon, ahead of that occurring, so that residents can be informed about where that is occurring on their street, as well as on the arterial roads around the territory.

This week Ms Lawder announced the Liberals’ policy on road maintenance. She said on record that, under the Liberal Party, if they were ever in government, they would prefer the most expensive resurfacing treatments to be applied in all circumstances on our

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