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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 August 2010) . . Page.. 3573 ..

the surface of the bitumen is starting to deteriorate, it allows the water to seep into the base. I was given some examples once of the particular problem that occurs once it gets into the base. The compacting effect of the vehicles on the road and the liquid in the—the Treasurer is laughing at me, Mr Speaker.

Ms Gallagher: No, I am enjoying it. I am enjoying the story.

MR SMYTH: I am shocked that she would laugh at an important issue such as road base. If you get a plastic bag of the aggregate, as it is when it is laid, and you have got those large stones, which are often 20 millimetres in diameter or bigger—now Mr Coe is laughing at me, Mr Speaker; I seek your protection. The problem is that the issue of the compacting, along with putting water into the equation, can turn it almost into a claylike substance, almost like a putty, and it becomes quite soft. Once large amounts of water get in under the upper layers of the bitumen it lifts and you get the start of potholes.

If it is not treated properly and effectively, the long-term debt that comes to the people of the ACT because of insufficient road rehabilitation gets out of hand quite quickly. Mr Hargreaves has joined us. He knows all about resealing programs, as a former Minister for Territory and Municipal Services. The important thing is to make sure that the process goes ahead. It must be done annually. The amount of road surface that is resealed needs to be done consistently and it needs to meet the age profile of the roads that exist in the territory so that, as taxpayers, we get the safest roads that we can have to drive on but we also get the most effective and efficient use out of the financing of rehabilitating roads and keeping that road surface working adequately for the people of the ACT.

I note Mr Coe’s amendment has been circulated. It is a very fine amendment. It is important, as I think Mr Coe says in one note, that the poor condition and planning of roadwork has meant that a large number of major projects have occurred in the ACT simultaneously, with negative impacts on commuters. We saw that recently with work being done on London Circuit and Northbourne Avenue at the same time.

Paragraph (2) condemns the ACT government for the poor planning of our current and future infrastructure needs. You can see that in the Gungahlin Drive extension debacle that this Chief Minister has presided over. We await the outcomes of the inquiries into the collapse of the bridge on the weekend. But the point is that this road should have been completed on time and on budget, which to my memory was July 2005. Here we are in August 2010 and the road still has not been completed.

It causes an enormous amount of grief to those people coming from outside the territory every morning down the Barton Highway and, in particular, those residents of Gungahlin that rely on this road. This road should have been in place in 2005, as promised. We all remember Mr Corbell’s mantra of “on time, on budget”. Well, it is not on time and it is not on budget and the completion date seems to have been pushed back further and further and further.

Mr Coe then goes on to call on the government to develop road, parking, cycling, pedestrian and public infrastructure before existing infrastructure reaches capacity. That is a prudent move.

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