Page 3417 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 18 September 2013

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Thank you for the opportunity to speak about Boundless Canberra, the national children’s playground. The support for Boundless Canberra over the past 12 months has been amazing. Canberrans have been motivated by the vision of this project to create a place where all children can experience the joy of playing, regardless of their abilities.

As the ACT’s first inclusive playground, Boundless will cater for children with hearing, vision and mobility impairments, as well as children with a spectrum disorder. It will be a place where children with disabilities can play in the same space and with the same equipment as all other children. It will be a place where families can play, socialise, be challenged and have lots of fun without having any of the barriers in usual playgrounds or lack of inclusion.

I am sure that we would all agree that childhood is a time to explore, to develop imagination and creativity, to challenge limits and to make new friends. Boundless will be a place where this is afforded to all children.

Boundless is an ambitious project initiated by our public servants as a legacy gift for our centenary year. It incorporates innovations from playgrounds in Australia and internationally. Boundless will include swings, a maze, a giant slide, sandpits, water play, forts and climbing equipment. It will be fully fenced, and it will have picnic and barbecue facilities and many other amenities that you would expect for families to have a good day out.

Importantly, it will also include equipment that can be easily accessed by children of all ability levels and is easily identified as disabled access equipment; zoned spaces to cater to a range of difference age and developmental levels; and a kiosk to be run as a social enterprise providing employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Boundless will also include a wireless network, opening up possibilities for interactive play within the playground.

The design for Boundless was informed by parents and children with a disability, and the specialists that work with them. It has been peer reviewed and meets the principles of inclusive play developed by the Touched by Olivia Foundation. It will become a shining example within the inclusive play space national network.

I know Canberrans have been inspired by stories from children who are currently denied this right to play but so desperately want to. Lily Sharrock is one of the many children looking forward to the boundless playground. Lily is eight years old and has cerebral palsy. She is in a wheelchair and is unable to access playgrounds on her own. Lily has told us what Boundless will mean for her. She said:

I can’t wait to see Boundless finished. I love playgrounds but often I have difficulty playing—

MADAM SPEAKER: Order, members! There is so much conversation going on in the chamber that I cannot hear Ms Berry. It is disrespectful to Ms Berry and to the sentiments of the motion. Ms Berry.

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