Page 4308 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 27 November 2013

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I really implore the minister to put a proper playground in Gungahlin town centre or at least improve the one that is there. Residents really need a place for respite, a moment to relax, a place to gather their thoughts before loading the kids back into the car. It is a big job, and we should support parents and families who are investing in our future.

I thank the minister for displaying vigilance regarding safety. I do appreciate the work and the money that goes into this outcome. However, the final point is that we really do, as I say, need a few children’s playgrounds that are completely fenced. I am not asking the government to spend millions of dollars on fencing all playgrounds in Canberra, but one properly fenced playground in each zone of the city would be a real asset—one in the north, one in the south, one in the east, one in the west.

There are playgrounds with child safety fences all across Australia. For example, many of us would be aware of the children’s playground at Holbrook on the drive to Melbourne, next to the toilet block. In Hobart there is a fully fenced park at Marieville Esplanade that I have taken the kids to. It has a larger playground that is fully fenced, and inside that playground is a toddler playground which is completely fenced separately. In Sydney, there are large, fully fenced playgrounds in Annandale, Birchgrove and Mosman.

These are places where mums groups can meet. Knowing that their children are safe, they can relax, network, help each other, have a picnic. A well-fenced and organised children’s playground can tangibly improve the mental health and social wellbeing of mums and carers at a time when we are very focused on postnatal depression and mental health. I implore the minister to make this outcome a priority.

In conclusion, good local playgrounds in our local suburbs are a huge benefit to our community. I implore the government to support this motion, support local suburban playgrounds, support the benefits they bring though active lifestyles for our children and respite for adults, and improve this core municipal service by maintaining and enhancing our playgrounds.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo—Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Housing, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and Minister for Ageing) (3.44): I welcome the opportunity today to speak about the importance of local suburban playgrounds to families of Canberra and I thank Mrs Jones for raising this issue for discussion. Play spaces, playgrounds and parks are a very significant part of Canberra’s open space network. They have been since the creation of the city and continue to be one of the things that Canberrans love about living here.

The National Capital Development Commission created a hierarchy for parks many decades ago as part of the concept of creating a “model city”. This resulted in parks and playgrounds being located within a 400-metre radius of each and every house in Canberra. The design, size and diversity of the parks and their associated playgrounds uses a three-tiered model that includes small parks at local or suburban centres, larger parks at a neighbourhood level and the largest parks being district parks such as Kambah district park—better known as Kambah adventure playground—John Knight

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