Page 4313 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 27 November 2013

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(a) continue to publish updates on the Playground Safety Program; and

(b) publish further detail on the audits and inspection programs undertaken by the ACT Government on ACT playgrounds and play spaces.”.

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (3.57): I would like to commend Mrs Jones for bringing this motion to the Assembly today. Playgrounds are core to our community, and I appreciate the opportunity to speak on the topic. I also acknowledge many of the good points Minister Rattenbury has made; as he said, I think most of us are in agreement that we are lucky to have so many and such good quality playgrounds in the ACT.

Playgrounds are more than just a place for kids to have fun. They play an essential role in the development of our children from early childhood: they build on their social, emotional, cognitive and physical wellbeing; they expand a child’s imagination and assist them in becoming more creative. And in today’s society, one of the most important aspects of playgrounds in our community is the need to keep our children active. It appears that kids today are not as active as they used to be, and this can manifest itself through obesity or other issues. It is important that in our role we continue to provide the greatest opportunities to encourage children to be active and provide safe and clean environments where parents and carers are happy to take their children.

In order to encourage children to go to playgrounds, and encourage parents, grandparents and carers to take their children to those playgrounds, we do need to ensure they are safe. We need to make sure there is not broken glass or graffiti, make sure they are fixed when they are broken and make sure they are maintained to keep them safe. And we do need some playgrounds to be fenced and sunshaded.

Today, I would like to provide the example of Point Hut Pond District Park in Gordon. The Point Hut Pond can be traced back to the construction in the 1980s of a water pollution control pond to protect the quality of the waters of the Murrumbidgee River. As part of this development, wetland conservation areas were provided and an area set aside for recreation on the eastern shore. I, for one, think that was a fantastic idea. The Point Hut Pond District Park has picnic areas, electric barbecues, public toilets and an adventure recreation facility which includes flying foxes and a basketball court. Unfortunately, the flying fox, which is the main attraction, is frequently closed off and unable to be used, and the park only has shade over the barbecues and a couple of picnic tables. In a society where skin cancer is a prominent concern, there is little shade for children and families. And Point Hut Pond District Park needs a few pathways so that it is not always muddy or dirty underfoot and you can move easily around the park, especially if you have mobility issues or you have a pram or stroller with you and you want to stay near your child or grandchild as they play.

There are also playgrounds in some Tuggeranong suburbs in the parklands which I have had a number of representations about recently, which face problems with motorbikes and other unauthorised vehicles entering the area. For example, in the Chisholm and Richardson areas, there are playgrounds in the parklands where children play which are unfenced, and children are being put at risk by motorists illegally accessing the parks.

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