Page 981 - Week 03 - Thursday, 30 March 2023

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(e) of the 51 settled claims:

(i) 21 were paid within 30 days of submitting;

(ii) 19 were paid within 31-60 days of submitting; and

(iii) 11 were paid more than 60 days after submitting; and

(3) calls on the ACT Government to:

(a) reduce the number of working days Roads ACT has to assess applications for reimbursement from 60 to 30 working days;

(b) upon exceeding those 30 working days, introduce that interest will start to be accrued on claims to ensure that deadlines are met and so that the Government is motivated to provide safe roads for people to access; and

(c) introduce these changes and update the Assembly on these changes by 1 July 2023.

I am happy to speak to the motion that is on the notice paper in my name. It is no secret that Canberrans have been deeply dissatisfied with the quality of ACT roads over the past few years. Last year we saw pothole-related vehicle damage claims soar, with many residents personally impacted by the Labor-Greens government’s failure to keep roads safe and accessible for everyone.

It did rain, Mr Assistant Speaker Pettersson; it rained a lot. No-one can deny that. But the concerns about maintenance of our roads meant that potholes proliferated faster than rabbits, if you like. Throughout 2022 the minister ignored community concerns and maintained the rhetoric that they were doing a great job of repairing and preserving Canberra roads. It was not until December 2022 that the minister acknowledged that there was a problem and announced much-needed further investment in ACT road maintenance. For the many residents who experienced problems and damage to their vehicles last year as a result of potholes, this investment has come far too late.

We know that, from 1 January to 31 October 2022, the average amount paid out by the government for a successful pothole-related damage claim was $767.86—the average claim. That is the best part of $800. For an average household, that is a lot of money—to be out of pocket for this amount on short notice. It is money that residents have to pay to get their vehicles fixed because of the government’s failure to keep our roads well maintained. It might not seem like much to people in this place, but the best part of $800 is a lot of money, especially amongst the current cost-of-living pressures that we have all been talking about.

When you have a family to support, and other bills to pay, cost-of-living pressures are one of the most pressing issues for Canberra families, for our families in the suburbs. When you get an $800 bill to fix your car because of a pothole issue, just where does that $800 come from?

Of course, in the ACT we have the option for residents to apply for compensation from the government when their vehicle is damaged as a result of poor road quality—for example, potholes. However, residents that I have spoken to have told me that they lodged a claim in October last year—some may have been lodged back further than

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