Page 185 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 11 February 2015

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Can I also suggest that areas where residents are older are areas where a park may not be used much for a few years, but the inevitable change in a suburb means that ultimately younger families start moving in. We need to maintain parks in areas where there are older residents too, because when younger families manage to scrape together the money to move into an area they do not expect to find that a playground once lived in a grassy space and now does not because the government thought it was more important to spend money on TV ad campaigns about cars and bikes being exactly the same, when they could have been maintaining basic park equipment, which is a high expectation of local residents.

I am also deeply concerned about the minister doing a root-and-branch review of how parks are maintained. All I am asking for is that parks be kept and that a few be fenced. That is what I have said over a period. I am not asking for billions of dollars to be spent on parks; I am not. I am being very reasonable. I am very concerned that someone who so little understands the experience of trying to manage small children might accidentally have a root-and-branch review which creates a system that actually closes local small parks, which are very important, especially to people with small babies and toddlers, when they really struggle to cope on some days of the week.

A park is a very important part of a community, whether it is big or small. I am pleased to hear from Ms Fitzharris the concept which I have thought of for a long time, of businesses in local areas being allowed to invest in local parks. I think it is a great idea. There are plenty of businesses—cafes and the like—which would very happily buy a new piece of play equipment, even if it was from a list of approved equipment, to go into a park, and I really hope that that is a possibility for this government.

Going to the amendment to the motion, I am concerned about the statement made in paragraph (1)(e) that recreational outcomes and health improvements will be the main aim of the new system, but that it will be implemented subject to future budget funding.

Playgrounds that have been removed have been subject to future budget funding. Decisions that are made always seem to be made, of course, in relation to future budget funding. But it feels a little like, from a motion which was asking for more information for the community about the minister’s and the department’s plans, we are moving to a situation where the minister is saying, “I’m going to rewrite the policy; I’m going to do some community consultation.”

Can I also add that mums with newborn babies, young families, do not very often have time to put in to public consultation. They are often stretched. I hope that their considerations are somehow taken into account and that we do not end up with a system so that, subject to budget funding, playgrounds either get closed and not replaced or we have a whole new system.

I do not think we will support the amendment because, even though I can agree with much of it, I am very concerned that it changes the nature of my request. My request was for more information for good citizens to know what is going on in their local area, and that has effectively been squashed by this amendment.

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