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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 November 2021) . . Page.. 3086 ..


develop the talent of young players throughout the area and to provide competitive spirit, skill and exercise.

I am very pleased to have sponsored this petition, on behalf of Canberra residents, about lighting for the Waramanga district playing fields. I thank the many residents who took the time and effort to sign the petition. I look forward to the response of the standing committee and minister, and their consideration and a positive outcome to meet the needs of Murrumbidgee and Canberra residents and contribute to the ACT government policy and ambition.

Melba—recreation area—petition 15-21

MS CLAY (Ginninderra) (10.06): I wish to speak to the petition tabled in my name about the Melba high school, Conley Drive, SMILE playground. This petition comes from a community group called SMILE Melba. SMILE stands for Support Melba Inclusive Learning Environment. It is a brilliant idea by some Melba locals to see a piece of under-utilised land re-imagined as a play space that people from across Belconnen, regardless of their age or level of ability, can all come together and use.

I have been to Boundless many times with friends, and it is special to have our kids play together and not have anyone left out because they cannot keep up or they cannot climb or they do not have the balance. Purpose-built playgrounds like this really are inclusive. They suit little kids under two, who get left behind on the big equipment by their siblings, and they suit those with a disability. We do not have any all-abilities playgrounds in Belconnen at the moment. Our kids have to travel to Gungahlin or Boundless if they want that kind of environment. COVID has made us all appreciate the importance of the hyperlocal, and I would really love to see this kind of playground built in Melba.

We share the community’s desire for a deeper, more participatory democracy, and I am not at all surprised to see such a great idea come from our Melba locals. I have spoken to hundreds of people around Belconnen with neighbourhood ideas, from small things like footpaths and bike lanes in areas that do not currently have them to big ideas like a BMX track on a dryland oval or a micro-forest on a really degraded site. Our local communities know their suburbs best and they are the best source of information and ideas for what their suburb needs.

I was really pleased to see the ACT government’s recent announcement about the play spaces strategy. I encourage everyone to get involved, fill in the survey and have your say about our play spaces. I was also glad to see Minister Steel make a particular point that our play spaces need to be accessible for all. A targeted strategy and Canberra-wide consultation is a good way to make these decisions. When a group like SMILE Melba come to us with a project that they have had running for over a year, we need to listen. And what a year it has been.

SMILE Melba is a grassroots project started off by two dads, Tim and Hector. They have been driving this along throughout such a dreadful year and they have not stopped or given up hope for a moment. They have been campaigning tirelessly. They have met with all of their local MLAs. They brought all three parties together to the


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