THE City of Ballarat is seeking financial compensation for thousands of claims of shoddy workmanship undertaken by National Broadband Network contractors.
The revelation was made at a council meeting on Wednesday night in response to a public submission put forward by Ballarat resident Beverly Martin.
Ms Martin voiced concerns that “irreparable damage” was done to footpaths, nature strips and homes across the city during the rollout process of the NBN Co’s high-speed fibre network. She was particularly concerned about the state of Victoria Street.
“The whole of Victoria Street is just disgusting,” she said.
“Parts of the street infrastructure have been completely destroyed and I cannot believe that this is being allowed to happen ... that it continues to be allowed to occur every day.”
Ms Martin called for the council to immediately halt construction works.
The move mirrored calls from the Ballarat Heritage Advisory Committee last year, claiming heritage buildings and roads throughout the city were being destroyed by the works.
City infrastructure general manager Eric Braslis said the council had issued 4500 defect notices seeking compensation for each inspection.
“The City of Ballarat has undertaken cost recovery for a number of repairs and emergency safety actions we have completed as a result of NBN related activity,” he said.
“Further compensation will be sought for damage identified from these notices.”
Cr Vicki Coltman said the council was forced to employ a staff member in December to inspect the works being undertaken by NBN contractors.
“It is a serious issue in this city,” she said.
“We have huge problems with infrastructure damage ... there have been thousands upon thousands of claims, so it is something we are taking very seriously.”
Ballarat mayor John Philips said the council was in the process of taking action against NBN for negligence and damage caused by contractors.
“The council is in the process of seeking compensation against the NBN for their failure to do work in line with what they are supposed to do,” he said.
“There has been work undertaken here that is unsatisfactory from a council perspective, and appropriate action is being taken.”
Mr Braslis said the council undertakes up to 30 scheduled inspections a week across the city and the NBN pays an agreed amount for each one.