Heritage complaints in Ballarat NBN rollout

SHODDY work and damage to heritage property by National Broadband Network contractors have been put squarely on the agenda for Wednesday night’s council meeting.

The Ballarat Heritage Advisory Committee will put forward a motion calling on the City of Ballarat to express its dissatisfaction to the federal Communications Minister about the NBN rollout.

The proposed motion expresses concerns that heritage overlays had not been adequately protected from poor workmanship by contractors. 

Councillor Sam McIntosh, who is the chair of the heritage advisory committee, said she was still fielding complaints from residents about damage to heritage-protected areas and the lack of action from NBN Co. 

“It’s ridiculous. Really simple stuff,” Cr McIntosh said.

“You are in a heritage area with heritage overlay and you have NBN workers tearing stuff up. It is untidy, it looks horrible and it is dangerous.”

The committee will seek “feedback on the outcome of communication with relevant authorities detailing the process for repairing current damage to heritage infrastructure and how current and future rollout practices will respect the City of Ballarat heritage overlays”.

The committee wants the council to contact the Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and the federal MP Catherine King.

“Specifically, we express concerns about the training and capacity of employees working in heritage precincts, the damage being caused to the city amenity, heritage and potential health and safety of residents.” 

Cr McIntosh said the committee was not seeking to delay the NBN rollout, merely that it needed to be done properly. She said the council had met  contractors 18 months ago and numerous examples of poor work were still being documented.

“Broken footpaths with patchwork repairs, and damage to walls on heritage homes,” she said. “The fact it is still happening is a real concern.”

gavin.mcgrath@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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