Page 646 - Week 02 - Thursday, 16 February 2017

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When I look around this city, I see that traffic normally flows and potholes are few. By reading the reports, I have discovered that around 4,000 potholes are repaired in the ACT every year, on top of the 65,000 square metres of large asphalt patching. For those playing at home, that is about 155 basketball courts or around 120,000 roadside election signs, a number I am sure we all aspire to surpass.

I recently took the first steps for getting my motorcycle licence. Whilst not as exciting as becoming an MLA, the day I got my learner’s permit for the bike was the day of one of the proudest personal achievements of the past few months. Now, as a motorbike rider, I am even more aware of the importance of quality road maintenance. Since getting my motorbike learner’s, I have been paying more attention to Canberra’s roads. A motorbike has significantly less contact with the road, and an oil slick, pothole or wet road can prove very dangerous. Having spent time on a bike in both the ACT and New South Wales, I can report that Canberra is an excellent place for motorbike riders. The maintenance of our roads here is wonderful and provides for safe riding all year round. I am sure that my colleague Mr Gentleman would agree.

I am also a keen cyclist. I cycle on our on-road systems as often as I can. We have some of the best on-road cycling lanes that Australia has to offer. I see people using them all day, every day.

In discussing road maintenance in the Australian Capital Territory, I would like to pay special tribute to the hardworking road crews who do this important work, many of them proud members of the CFMEU. This is often heavy, physical work. It is outdoors. It is in the heat, the rain and the fog. It is also often dangerous. Not only do these workers face all the dangers of their own machinery and the environment; they are exposed to the vagaries of drivers. Canberra people are generally very good drivers, but it is the worst drivers, not the best drivers on our roads, that are the danger.

As anyone who has travelled from Civic to Gungahlin recently will report, the government insists that proper OH&S protections are provided to all workers exposed to traffic. Providing a safe workplace for road maintenance and other workers is best achieved by ensuring that all workers on site are empowered to speak up about safety; that managers put safety before profit; and that the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 is properly enforced, with safety reps in place. Building safe workplaces for road maintenance and other workers is best achieved by good relations between all levels of business. I congratulate those enterprises and unions which work well together to keep these workers safe.

By the wise use of budgets, intelligent management, good planning and cooperative relations with the workplace, this government continues to deliver better road maintenance for Canberra. In the next few years, as we see light rail delivered, I am sure the performance will get better and better.

Discussion concluded.


Motion (by Mr Gentleman) proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

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