Page 3558 - Week 11 - Thursday, 22 September 2005

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We need to address the impact of continual adjournments and the abandonment of matters on the work of both the Supreme Court and the Magistrates Court. They go to issues around continual adjournments, issues in relation to case listing, issues in relation to the management of the courts. These are complex issues in the hands of the managers of the courts.

The Chief Magistrate and his magistrates are responsible for the management of the court; the government is not. The Supreme Court is managed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The Magistrates Court is managed by the Chief Magistrate. The issues are in relation to constant adjournments, matters falling off, matters not being relisted and difficulties with the program. The Auditor-General’s report reveals, for instance, that, on average, our magistrates sit for two hours or thereabouts a day. That goes to issues around how matters are listed and the fact that matters fall off. These are serious issues that need to be addressed.


MR SESELJA: My question is to the Minister for Urban Services. Minister, I refer to recent work performed by urban services where a bicycle and walking path in the vicinity of Jennings Street and Dunstan Street in Curtin was dug up and removed. Comments by the urban services chief executive in the Canberra Chronicle indicate the path was removed because of public safety concerns. Minister, when was the department first aware the path was a risk to public safety? Why was there no consultation, signage or notice given prior to removal of the path?

MR HARGREAVES: The path that Mr Seselja is talking about is located on the Curtin ridge connecting Jennings Street to the north Curtin district playing fields. The total length of the path removed was about one and a half kilometres and the path width was 1.2 metres, the same as a normal suburban footpath. This path took a circuitous route, weaving through strands of trees and some local space.

The asphalt path was constructed in the 1970s and was of very low standard. The thin asphalt had generally been laid directly on the natural surface instead of on a granular base. During the last five years this path has been the subject of complaint from the public about its poor condition. Following a number of complaints, the condition of the path was assessed. It was noted that extensive areas of the path were in a dangerous condition. Defects included edge breaks, missing path, root intrusions, severe cracking, edge drop-off and building up of sediment. The old path meandered around the open space and many users had developed informal shortcuts to reduce the distance travelled or to avoid hazards.

The decision to remove the path was made to ensure public safety. Arrangements were made for the path to be removed commencing on Wednesday, 24 August, and the landscaping component was completed by Tuesday, 30 August. A new path is to be constructed in the coming months on an improved route to connect Jennings Street and the north Curtin playing fields.

Mr Seselja asked me when I became aware of this. It was a gradual thing over time. The Department of Urban Services—

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