Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 12 October 2022) . . Page.. 2984 ..
I am sad to report that my electorate of Ginninderra is also full of potholes, particularly as you wander west. Does Minister Steel know where west Belconnen is? With my local member hat on—and, of course, Mr Deputy Speaker, I do not have my hat on as my normal practice—I am appalled at what this minister has allowed our roads to deteriorate into. As we are aware, through the amendment that Mr Steel has distributed, he is going to tell us it is all about the weather. It is all about the weather.
But, from my perspective, a good government is not supposed to wait for problems to appear to fix them. They act so that the problems do not appear in the first place—or at least not to the degree that we are seeing. I have written more letters than I can remember to the Minister for Transport and City Services regarding potholes. Sometimes it is about the same pothole, which seems to re-emerge after being repaired. Thus far, I have written about 144 letters to the Minister for Transport and City Services regarding this phenomenon.
I am also very concerned about the cost that the government itself incurs—and ACT ratepayers—by having to pay for claims. This is not sound financial management. If we got the procurement and management of services right, this would not be an issue. We would be spending money effectively and proactively and assessing how the money is spent and why. Fortunately, it is not a massive total so far, but it is going to grow. Would that not have been better invested in road maintenance? The government needs to be more proactive. It needs to think ahead. It needs to think of maintaining things that are provided to the community, as opposed to waiting for a problem to appear and then acting.
As other members have done, I have done a bit of a survey of my electorate of Ginninderra, and there are two notable things that I have written about and used social media to highlight. One is the trench that appeared on Southern Cross Drive, just north of Ginninderra Drive. Sorry; I know we are talking about potholes here. But when you have some potholes that join together, I am going to call that a trench. Also, in Fraser recently, I did a spot of letterboxing where there is a large T-intersection. Near the bus depot and then further down the road, there are very, very significant and degrading potholes in the road. The neighbours just shake their heads and say, “Well, what more can we do about it?” I say, “I have written about this, and I am going to keep on the case of this government.”
I did mention, perhaps with a bit of levity, that Minister Steel might like to consider #potholesRus for his letterhead. But I perhaps need to give the minister some credit for some creative thinking here, because I do wonder whether, with hooning being such a problem in the territory, allowing the roads to be populated with potholes is the answer. I hope that is not where the thinking lies. I support Ms Lawder’s motion. I certainly reject Minister Steel’s amendment, which is a distraction from the root cause: that we need a thorough investigation of road maintenance and we need real investment in this in the territory.
MRS KIKKERT (Ginninderra) (4.57): I thank Ms Lawder for bringing this motion before the Assembly. My speech today is very simple, as it should be—a simple speech for a simple request. Fix my street. Fix my neighbour’s street. Fix Ginninderra’s streets. Fix Canberra’s streets. And then keep them in good repair