Page 3056 - Week 09 - Thursday, 13 October 2022
MR CAIN: Attorney, where else are we vulnerable to a human rights-based legal challenge that you are aware of?
MR RATTENBURY: I think that question is possibly outside of the standing orders, but nonetheless I will endeavour to answer it.
The strength of our human rights jurisdiction is that people are able to pursue matters if they feel there is a breach of their human rights. There is obviously a large number of areas contained in the Human Rights Act, where rights are spelled out and Canberra citizens, if they feel their human rights are being breached under those areas, have the opportunity to pursue it.
It is impossible for me to speculate where people may seek to pursue those options, but I do celebrate the fact that they have that opportunity if they think their human rights are not being respected as they think they should be.
MR COCKS: My question is to the Minister for Transport and City Services. Minister, I wrote to you on 17 August asking specific questions relating to risk management for Coppins Crossing. In your response three weeks later you ignored these questions, and so I am forced to ask again today: was there a plan in place to manage the predictable impacts of flood events before that closure?
MR STEEL: I thank the member for his question. There has been in place for a number of years automatic gates which close when the Molonglo River rises above a certain level, causing safety issues at the crossing. So those automatically close. Based on community feedback as the Molonglo Valley has grown in terms of the population who are using this stretch of road, we have also put in place a range of other measures to address the issues and to provide them with forewarning of the automatic closure of those gates and the closure of the road during heavy rainfall events like we have had. It was closed just recently with the rainfall, but I believe that it has now been reopened.
We have been putting communication up through various message signage in the lead-up to the river, which has dealt with the risk of cars needing to turn around at the very last instance near the gates. So they know earlier when it will be closed. We are trying to make sure that we get better at communication through a range of other channels as well.
We did a lot of work to clear the debris that had come down the river. There was not a huge amount. With the most recent rainfall, we have had contractors available to do that. Sometimes that takes a little bit longer than we would hope. I am pleased that we were able to clear that fairly quickly. We have put up barriers on the bridge itself to stop that debris going over the bridge. We are also looking at further measures, and I am happy to expand on those in the supplementary.
MR COCKS: Minister, why did the Molonglo Valley residents spend 12 of the 14 days without this vital public amenity waiting for you to find a contractor?