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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 March 2018) . . Page.. 851 ..

I very much commend the Waramanga community, and Elizabeth Hoyt in particular, for their hard work on this. They have got it to the stage where the Assembly is considering it. As I said, it would be great to have a playground there. I commend my amendments to the Assembly.

MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee) (3.57): I welcome any opportunity to talk about early childhood infrastructure in my electorate. As members know, and as is reflected in the amendment, I have been engaging with the Weston Creek Community Council and Ms Elizabeth Hoyt on the proposal for a playground in Waramanga. I would like to note that it was actually Minister Gentleman who, with my support, moved in the Assembly during executive members’ business the petition on behalf of almost 400 signatories in support of the Waramanga playground in June last year.

I am very glad to see that Jeremy Hanson is taking an interest in this matter in the Assembly today. He was using some quotes from, I think, my maiden speech which referred to early learning, which is a much broader concept than just playgrounds. It actually refers to early childhood education and care. I am not sure what point he was trying to make there, but Ms Hoyt has certainly worked hard in the community to build support, in Waramanga particularly, for the playground project, including developing and bringing a detailed design proposal to government. We acknowledge the extensive work that has been undertaken.

My current survey of Weston Creek residents has been met with an overwhelming response from local residents, some of whom are raising the issue of playgrounds as well as a range of other priorities for the Weston Creek area. I understand that senior officials from the Directorate of Transport and City Services met with Ms Hoyt and members of the Weston Creek Community Council at the site in question to discuss the proposal. So they have engaged. I also understand that Waramanga playground is on the government’s playground priority list.

I am sure that Ms Hoyt has made a submission to the budget process for this year’s 2018-19 budget and to the better suburbs community consultation that has been occurring. While I am not privy to cabinet deliberations, I am confident that both submissions will be seriously considered by the government, as are all submissions in the budget process in the context of delivering our election commitments and the range of priorities that need to be considered by government. The government will continue to engage with Ms Hoyt and relevant stakeholders on the proposals, and I look forward to continuing to work with her in my capacity as her local member and member for the area.

As I have raised on previous occasions, prior to my time in the Assembly, I worked as an early childhood advocate, focusing on particularly the nexus between early childhood research and policy. Because of that work, I know that active play in particular has an impact on the development of young children, particularly their physical health and wellbeing; on their fine and gross motor skill development; and in setting lifelong habits in terms of physical activity and the link to later health outcomes.

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