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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 April 2021) . . Page.. 847 ..

disability-inclusive playground. Minister, would the government support the conversion of this space into a disability-inclusive playground?

MR STEEL: I thank Ms Clay for her question. As a former early childhood advocate, I, and the government, understand the importance of access to play spaces for the development of children, both their physical health and wellbeing and their social development, because they are a community hub for their entire neighbourhood.

We welcome the ideas coming forward from communities about how to revitalise their playgrounds. In fact, later this year we will be going out for consultation on a new play space strategy. I will be encouraging the community to come forward and to have a strategic discussion about how we manage our existing play spaces in the ACT; how we build new spaces and revitalise existing spaces, particularly in our older suburbs like Melba; and the variety of different play experiences that are available to children across the ACT and how we can enhance access, particularly for children with a disability, and in a range of age groups. Many of our local play spaces focus on the zero to nine age group; district spaces focus on a slightly older age and ability; and central play spaces also play a role.

We are interested in hearing from communities about what they would like to see in their local neighbourhoods and how we can better use public spaces. We have seen the benefit of that in many communities around Canberra with upgraded play spaces, like Farrer, in my community, which has become a real community hub. Of course, this will need to be assessed based on a range of different priorities. Those priorities were established by a play spaces forum in 2018, which was part of a community democracy project that the ACT government ran. It also looked at specific areas where those priority play spaces should be developed in the future. We are interested in hearing from them, and I look forward to hearing from the Melba community on their play spaces.

MS CLAY: Minister, how will you make sure that you get the full range of community voices on play spaces and other improvement projects for under-utilised government land?

MR STEEL: I thank the member for her question. In relation to this particular piece of land, I understand that it is actually an Education property, so there would need to be a range of different conversations between various different arms of government around the use of land that the community wants to look at. We will need to seek a variety of different views as we consult on our new play space strategy. One of the views that I am particularly keen to hear is that of children, because children are the primary stakeholder in a conversation around play spaces. They are the users of the play spaces, and we want to hear from them about what they would like to see.

On the weekend, I heard from a family in Duffy that wanted to see a ninja playground developed next to the Duffy shops—a unique experience, no doubt, and one that I do not think we have in Canberra at this stage. So there are a variety of different views. I certainly was not aware that ninja playgrounds were a thing, and that is why we need to hear from a variety of voices, because things do change over time. Preferences and needs change over time, and we want to make sure that we are meeting the needs of

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