Page 645 - Week 02 - Thursday, 16 February 2017

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Avenue works. No upgrades have been made to the off-ramps at Belconnen Way to cater for increased city-bound traffic from Gungahlin and New South Wales regions to the west and north of Canberra. A similar situation applies to the off-ramp onto Parkes Way at the Glenloch interchange.

The people of Gungahlin are tired of being ignored, of having poor roads or long traffic commutes. What we need is good roads in and around our suburbs. We need to be able to exit our suburbs with ease. Gungahlin does not seem to have a road network capable of dispersing traffic at peak times. It is time for the government to address this matter of public importance.

MS CODY (Murrumbidgee) (5.00): I would like to thank Mrs Kikkert for putting this important matter on the notice paper today. I am not sure about other members, but road maintenance was not a subject that I had spent a great deal of time studying before entering this place. Like many, as a road user I would notice when things were broken, had been slightly annoyed by roadworks and was always fascinated with trucks, diggers and other machinery.

Being a Canberran, I have spent years on the receiving end of many jokes about roundabouts from interstate friends and relatives. This, among other cultural heritages of our city, is a valuable part of who we have become. With self-government, Canberra’s unique road designs have, however, presented an equally unique challenge to maintain. We have a beautiful city with stunning topography, creative town planning and an ambitious roads system. Sometimes the ambitions of previous generations of town planners and road engineers have become the cost centres of today.

The ACT government plays a unique role in roads maintenance, being responsible for both the traditional state government main road role and the maintenance of local streets and our wonderful network of community paths.

As an MLA, I have been putting in the work of reading the reports, learning about the challenges and understanding the government’s program to overcome those challenges. To simply say that we are overcoming those challenges is, of course, an understatement. This government has laid out a clear vision of the future of local transport and is getting on with the job of delivering. I am not sure how much time my colleagues spend in the new areas of our city in Wright, Coombs and Denman Prospect, but as someone who is frequently on the ground in these areas, I can report to the chamber that the design of local infrastructure has learned the lessons of the past. Roads are well designed and in decades to come will prove a lesser cost burden to maintain than in some other areas.

We are finding out about the issues in some of the older areas. The roads and other infrastructure built during the postwar expansion of Canberra are now reaching maturity. In the era of the department of works, there was a great deal of construction and little need for planning and maintenance. Today, we must invest heavily in maintenance whilst also continuing to build into new areas and rebuilding infrastructure where either its design was faulty or modern usage patterns have overwhelmed older designs.

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