Page 2982 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 12 October 2022

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Locally, in Yerrabi, Ms Castley and I have received numerous complaints about one road in particular, Jabanungga Avenue—no doubt she will cover this as well—from constituents who have faced years of issues with this one street. I repeat: years. It started off with a pothole and now that has extended to the ground actually being raised. Apparently there are issues with water running underneath that road. But it has been years. Nothing has been done. It has not been fixed and residents are really fed up with it.

I am currently running an electorate survey. Out of that survey, 66 per cent of responses have highlighted that urban maintenance is a major area of concern for them. Of those, 20 per cent have highlighted that potholes are the main area of their concern—20 per cent. This goes to show that over half of our region has complaints and concerns about our roads and also our urban areas.

This is our third La Niña summer in a row, which means that there is going to be more rain and wet weather. But we know that this is not new information for the government. For months they have known that there will be higher than usual rainfall, yet the current maintenance programs to ensure that our roads can withstand the oncoming weather are insufficient. You can expect that we will start seeing more potholes, no doubt, over the coming months and even over the next year.

ACT residents pay through the roof in rates. Not only does this go to show the government’s negligence with taxpayers’ money but it shows the lack of proper road maintenance, resulting in potholes and damaged roads, rendering some streets unsafe. There have been 40-odd cases reported of compensation for vehicles being damaged by roads. But I am sure that that figure is much, much higher because people are unaware of how they can make a claim when their vehicle has been damaged by potholes. So far, it is only sitting at $43,000 in compensation, but that figure would be potentially much, much higher. To replace a wheel or tyres on a vehicle is not cheap. It is not cheap at all. Really, the government should get out there and repair these roads as best they can.

I see road maintenance and upkeep as a basic government responsibility. They continue to fail to provide this service. As community concerns continue to grow about the number and severity of potholes in the ACT, something needs to be done to ensure the community’s safety on our roads. Motorists are apprehensive at times about travelling on our roads, due to the potholes. There is no attempt by this government to alert motorists to potentially damaging potholes on our roads. They have not even considered putting up signs to alert motorists to severe potholes on the roads that could cause significant damage to vehicles. Our taxes deserve far better street and road maintenance services. Unfortunately, the slow repair of potholes around Gungahlin is ramping up the list of issues that residents suffer from.

I support Ms Lawder’s motion. I think that we do need to investigate what changes need to be made to road maintenance and our approach to the state of ACT roads. We need to provide residents with a plan to reduce the amount of ratepayers’ money that is spent on claims for damage to vehicles. If only they knew exactly how to make a claim, I am sure that $43,000 would probably be tenfold. Thank you, Ms Lawder, for bringing this important motion to the Assembly. I support it.

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