Page 4314 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 27 November 2013

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Also, just in recent weeks, I have received concerns from residents in Gowrie about a playground that was removed because it was no longer safe. It has not been replaced. We should be increasing the number of playgrounds and outdoor places our children have to play in the suburbs, not taking them away. And while we need to make sure those places are safe, taking them down and not replacing them should not be the answer.

There are many great playgrounds in the ACT. As we all agree, the maintenance needs to be kept up. Fencing so that parents and carers with more than one child have some peace of mind and some shade could be part of the ongoing upgrade strategies and capital works.

I know that the directorate spend a lot of time and effort on checking and maintaining playgrounds and parks. I commend them for their work and thank them for their ongoing efforts. I also acknowledge that the minister is very receptive to complaints, comments and suggestions about improvement, and I thank him for his commitment too.

I support the call today for the continued publishing of progress of the playground upgrade strategy and the audit and inspection programs undertaken by the ACT government.

MRS JONES (Molonglo) (4.02): I will deal with the amendment and sum up at the same time.

Regarding the amendment, we will support the amendment. I would like to draw the minister’s attention to the fact that in the amendment he says that playgrounds should respond to diverse needs. Some people’s children are much more active than others; fencing some playgrounds gives those who have more active children an opportunity to have a place that is appropriate for those children. Do children have to be defined as having ADHD or another condition before the government will consider what it is like to take those children to the park? Nobody is asking the government to provide a childminding service. It is a bit—I will choose my words very carefully as well—of a misunderstanding to suggest that it is not reasonable for a few parks to be fenced. Even the pet parks in Canberra are fenced.

This shows that it is difficult for some people to understand what it is like to be at the park with two or three children at once or to be feeding a baby while looking after a toddler. It is difficult—I admit it is difficult—to understand. That is why I have brought it up here. I think it is very important, because there are mums out there who are not coping very well, and this would really assist them. I can tell you it is true. At the same time, I invite the minister to come with me to the park. I will take you to the park; I will show you. I will bring some other mums; I would be more than happy to do that. I am not being ironic; I am being really very serious here, because this can make a big difference to someone’s daily life.

I have put some requests into my speech that were not detailed in the original motion. I thank the minister for his guidance. I will endeavour to put more detail into motions.

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