ACT Government failing on vital infrastructure

The ACT government is failing to maintain Canberra’s essential stormwater assets, according to the latest Audit-General’s report, Leader of the Opposition Alistair Coe said today.

“While this area of government might not be as interesting as light rail and international trade, it is a vital service that taxpayers expect from a local government,” Mr Coe said.

“Under Minister Fitzharris, the asset acceptance areas of government are under-resourced and there is a shortage of in-house engineering expertise.

“Amongst many findings, the Audit report includes:

  • Flood risk mitigation work is not being undertaken, despite known risks;
  • Some stormwater infrastructure cannot cope with major rain events;
  • The government has no plans to review stormwater infrastructure; and
  • In-fill development is increasing the risk of flooding but the government is not taking action.

“The ACT government needs to focus on the core business of running essential services and managing our city’s infrastructure,” Mr Coe concluded.

The report can be found here: www.audit.act.gov.au

Quotes from the Audit Report:

The condition of stormwater assets in established areas of Canberra has not been reassessed since the development of those areas, despite the fact that there is a known flood risk in some locations. (p79, 4.94)

TCCS advised that there is an increased risk that the stormwater infrastructure in many established areas of Canberra will be unable to cope with major rain events. This is because the stormwater network has not been augmented to help manage increased or more concentrated flows from:

  • In-fill developments, such as multi‐unit high rise infill developments in many established areas…
  • New estates which have been developed close to older areas and where the new stormwater infrastructure is connected to the stormwater infrastructure in the surrounding areas (for example, Lawson, which is surrounded by, and has links to the stormwater infrastructure at, Kaleen, Giralang and McKellar)… (p.80, 4.96)

TCCS advised that areas where there is a current known flood risk include Fyshwick, Chapman, Duffy, Lyons, Page, Red Hill/Griffith, Weetangera and Barton/Forrest. (p79, 4.95)

There are no scheduled reviews of the condition of the stormwater infrastructure in established areas. (p.82, 4.101)

Where flooding occurs because of a failure of the part of the Government to augment the stormwater infrastructure to help manage increased flows as a result of developments approved by the Government, there is an increased risk of claims for compensation from people whose properties have been flooded. (p.81, 4.110)