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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 30 November 2021) . . Page.. 3882 ..


(2) further notes that the ACT Government:

(a) recently released a draft Play Space Strategy and is currently consulting on this;

(b) is due to commence a review of Public Land Management Plans for urban open spaces, including dryland ovals, in 2022; and

(c) has an Adopt-a-Park program, which provides grants funding to support community-led initiatives on urban open area land including micro-forests; and

(3) calls on the ACT Government to:

(a) conduct public consultation on land management plans for urban open spaces with the local community, including on the 31 dryland ovals, with residents, local Parent & Citizen groups, local businesses and local community groups;

(b) finalise updated land management plans, which will include specific consideration of dryland ovals and incorporate the feedback and aspirations on their future use received from the local community;

(c) promote the Adopt-a-Park initiative and engage closely with community groups wanting to start projects to improve dryland ovals and other open spaces for community uses;

(d) continue to work with the Florey Primary School and the community on commitments to improve the Florey oval to provide more active open space for the school and local community; and

(e) report back to the Assembly on progress on this motion by the first sitting week in 2023.

My motion concerns “dryland ovals”, which may not be a term everyone immediately recognises. Canberra has plenty of dryland ovals. We have 31 in total, and 14 of those are in Belconnen. That is why I brought this motion, and I am sure it will be of particular interest to my MLA colleagues in Ginninderra.

We have all heard from constituents about our local dryland ovals. Community members write in and stop me at stalls with questions all the time. They have so many great ideas, and it made me realise how important it is to get feedback from people about their local areas. That is why I have put community consultation at the heart of this motion. A lot of people wonder why their ovals are in the condition they are in. Especially if you are new to Canberra, you may not realise that these ovals were converted from irrigated sports fields to the dryland condition they are in today. I have lived in Belconnen my whole life and I remember the difficult decision taken during the millennium drought. I also understand that decision.

We chose to keep some irrigated sports fields—that is important; we need to keep some for structured sport—but we reduced the number of irrigated ovals in Canberra. We simply could not afford the water. I will start with the environmental cost. We are in a climate crisis. Canberra is getting hotter and drier, with more extreme weather. Some years we have a lot of rain—this year is one of them—and our dams are full. But we all know this will not last forever, and the trend is towards a hotter and drier


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