Page 3418 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 18 September 2013

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MS BERRY: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I was just talking about what Lily was saying the Boundless playground would mean for her. She said:

I can’t wait to see Boundless finished. I love playgrounds but often have difficulty playing on them, sometimes I can only watch. Usually I rely on Mum or Dad to get me out of my wheelchair and into a swing and then they have to make sure I don’t fall off.

I am most looking forward to having birthday parties at Boundless when it is built. I have lots of friends and family that don’t need wheelchairs and it will be great to play with them, and other kids in wheelchairs, so everyone can have fun.

Lily and her family cannot wait for the Boundless playground to be built so that Lily can explore on her own without having to rely on her parents.

At the heart of these hopes for Boundless is inclusion—inclusion for all children regardless of their ability, a place where children with disabilities can play alongside their siblings in equipment that accommodates them all, a place where children like Lily are on a level playing field when it comes to play.

I am extremely proud that we will have a legacy such as Boundless that promotes inclusion in the heart of the nation’s capital. Lyle Dahms is the father of nine-year-old Alex, who has Jacobsen syndrome and has not yet learned to walk or talk. Lyle was one of the parents who provided design advice on Boundless and has revealed how hard it is for Alex to access playgrounds currently. Despite his limitations, Alex loves playgrounds. When they visit playgrounds, Lyle helps Alex navigate his way and Alex invariably finds his way to the highest possible slide and, in his own way, asks to be sent hurtling down. When other people express surprise about Alex’s fearlessness in a playground, Lyle reminds them that he is first and foremost a nine-year-old boy. Lyle has explained that Alex’s enjoyment of playgrounds is usually limited by the design of playgrounds rather than Alex’s limitations.

Boundless will be a place where there are no limitations for children such as Alex, or any other child with a disability. Boundless will be a place children and families will enjoy for years to come. It will be a destination of choice for families and schools visiting the national capital over the next century. Most importantly, it will be a place for all children where there will be no barrier to play or inclusion.

We have only just begun to think of the possibilities that this playground will provide for the community of Canberra. Boundless will no doubt become a favourite recreational place for Canberra families. It will also be a child-friendly site where we can take services to children and families directly. For example, the playground can be used as a site to run an outdoor education and health program for inclusive play and development.

As we prepare to become the first jurisdiction to transition our full population of people with a disability into the national disability insurance scheme commencing in 2014, Boundless will be a very public demonstration of the value that we place on people with a disability in our community.

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