Road Maintenance

Thursday September 09, 2021

Mr BELL (Mount Gambier) (15:26): My question is to the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. Can the minister outline what compensation avenues are available to motorists who experience damage to their car tyres and rims due to deep potholes and poor road maintenance in the South-East?


The Hon. C.L. WINGARD (Gibson—Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing) (15:26): I am happy to take that question on notice. I don't have an answer for the member other than to say—and we had chatted about this offline—it was quite a wet winter through July and August. I thought it was a little bit wetter in August, but I am informed by the member for MacKillop actually that it was wetter in the South-East in July. That sort of rainfall, and the record levels that I am told they had, does often lead to potholes on those roads. Again, we do know the history of the roads across South Australia, especially the regional roads and the road maintenance backlog that we were left with.

We have been doing a lot of work there. The Riddoch Highway in particular—I was just down in the South-East not that long ago, and the work that was going on there was outstanding. As far as the potholes are concerned, and any damage that may have occurred, no doubt that would need to be investigated and checked out from that level. But I am very happy to take the member's question on notice, find out more detail and specifics and relay that back to the department. I can also let the member know that I know a lot of works have been happening over recent weeks, as far as repairing some of those potholes from that wet winter that I was talking about.

So that work is underway. As soon as it does dry out enough, that's when that work can start and I am told it has been starting as the nice spring weather comes through. Of course, it's very hard to repair a pothole and do that whilst it is still raining cats and dogs. So that repair work is happening. As far as the specifics of the incident that the member for Mount Gambier is talking about, I am very happy to get those specifics and have a look into it for him.


Supplementary answer provided 13th October 2021
In reply to Mr Bell MP (9 September 2021)

Hon Corey Wingard MP: I have been advised that:
Motorists will need to consider their insurance options. In relation to any liability of the state government for vehicle damage I am advised by the Department for Infrastructure and Transport that pursuant to section 42 of the Civil Liability Act '1936 a road authority is not liable for the failure to maintain a road.

However, as part of the conditions of contractual agreements with DIT maintenance contractors, the contractor is responsible for conducting scheduled fortnightly maintenance inspections of all main arterial roads that fall under the care, control and management of the Commissioner of Highways.

The contractor is also contractually responsible to attend to reports of pothole or other defects on the road, within the contractual timeframes, from being made aware of the hazard, to make the
site safe.

The contractor is only liable if it has failed in its contractual responsibilities to DIT, and a claims process is available to an individual if it can establish that this has occurred. In practice, this means that a person must be able to show that the contractor has failed to act on the knowledge of a specific road hazard (within the relevant stipulated time frame) prior to the person receiving damages as a result of that road hazard.

I am advised that DIT monitors the contractors' performance to ensure they meet their responsibilities.

Hon Corey Wingard MP
Minister for Infrastructure and Transport​​​​​