Page 172 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 11 February 2015

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need limited remediation? Will older playgrounds just be signposted and removed without consultation and without concern for the hole it may leave for the families who use them?

I am sure those sitting opposite would all agree that playgrounds are an important part of family life in Canberra. In fact, I recall Mr Rattenbury assuring us all last year here in the Assembly that the government was committed to “improving recreational facilities across the city”. Those were his words and his commitment last year. Yet now we see that improving some recreational facilities may not be such a genuine commitment; rather, they will be removed if they need some work.

I believe $450,000 has been spent on dog parks, yet this was a $2,000 repair. How much has been spent on the new “bikes are just like cars” campaign on our TVs and how much of that could have gone into parks? And what would have been the cost of removing this park? It would probably have been fairly substantial.

Minister Rattenbury told us last year that his department was responsible for maintaining and caring for 507 playgrounds across the city. However, recently in the Canberra Times he was quoted as saying that the department cares for 490 playgrounds. Minister, I wonder whether 17 playgrounds have disappeared in the middle of the night, taken away because they need some upkeep. Has the “green grinch” come out again to steal playgrounds from children? Is the new policy approach when a playground comes up for maintenance or renewal to rip it out instead of doing work on it?

Playgrounds are a core municipal service. They are part of the basic services that residents expect from their local government—a local government which continues to increase rates over and above inflation, CPI or any other reasonable measure. People have a reasonable expectation that what is there will be maintained. People expect them to stay.

On the topic of Rocky Knob, those who know the history of self-government in the ACT will recall that Rocky Knob is also a site of historical significance in the ACT. Former members of this place, including Michael Moore, Bernard Collaery and Norm Jensen, will remember that this was a site that they did not want developed in a new way. The Residents Rally fought development in the area as part of their very formation. Bernard Collaery would not have entertained the removal of a local beloved playground.

Today I am calling on the government to do two things: firstly, publish a truly meaningful maintenance schedule—a schedule that identifies each playground, what stage of its lifecycle it is at, what the renewal plan is for each playground and what upgrades or revitalisations are required; and, of course, time lines for such work to be done.

Secondly, I call on the government to conduct genuine and meaningful community consultation on playground changes. It seems clear, with the debacle over Rocky Knob playground, that no community consultation took place at all. No-one had thought to ask the local residents what they wanted or needed in their local

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