Page 719 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 28 March 2023

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The draft plan will reflect the outcome of a desktop review of the 32 dryland ovals that was recently led by CMTEDD’s sport and recreation team, which has the strategic lead in planning for future sports facilities. The review has essentially categorised that the 15 ovals be retained for possible future reactivation as formal sportsgrounds, in light of Canberra’s growing population. The remaining 17 dryland ovals are recommended to be repurposed into some other form of public urban open space.

Such repurposing may include community-led activities under the Adopt-a-Park banner, rewilding initiatives, community gardens, or micro-forest initiatives similar to the Gawari Mada Holt Micro-Forest. Or they may be left as they are today as well used areas of informal open space, perfect for a morning stroll with the dog or a kick of the football.

I would stress, however, that the ACT government has never suggested that there is an intent for any of the 32 dryland ovals to be considered for any other purpose that is inconsistent with their primary use as public urban open space. Any suggestion to the contrary is misleading.

The Adopt-a-Park Community Grants Program is an important government commitment that allows the community to engage with nature on their doorstep. Working with the broad principles of looking after urban green spaces, the directorate invites community innovation, connection, learning and commitment. Minister Steel will soon open a new round of funding for Adopt-a-Park, and some groups may see an opportunity to invest in a future idea for one of the available 17 dryland ovals sites.

In fact, as members will know, work to repurpose a portion of the dryland oval in Florey has already commenced. A portion of the dryland oval is being redeveloped by the Education Directorate to maximise outdoor space for students at Florey Primary School. This area of the oval will be developed into a natural play space for use by school students and the wider community.

The ACT Education Directorate invited the community to have a say to help shape the future elements of the Florey Oval refresh project. In response to the community’s feedback, a concept design for the Florey Oval refresh has been developed and was available on YourSay for further community feedback on 15 February 2023.

Finally, I would like to stress that our dryland ovals are a precious community greenspace resource. In partnership with the community, the government will move to ensure that we reserve some dryland ovals for their possible future reactivation as fully fledged sportsgrounds, noting that in the meantime they will remain as they are today—dryland ovals available as recreational open space. Redevelopment of any of the 32 sites for commercial and/or residential purposes will not be supported by this government.

I present the following paper:

Dryland Ovals—Land Management Plans—Assembly Resolution of 30 November 2021—Government response—Ministerial statement, 28 March 2023.

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