Page 5358 - Week 14 - Thursday, 30 November 2017

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Torrens shops playground—petition 31-17

MRS JONES (Murrumbidgee) (10.03), by leave: Torrens is home to 600 families, with approximately 20 per cent of its population made up of children aged zero to 14. Having a good quality facility for these families and children near the shops to play in is so important for the health and wellbeing of the community, carers, grandparents and families.

At the moment the Torrens playground is quite run down. It is out of date, it lacks a shaded area and it has lost direct access from the Torrens shops. In fact to find the playground you sort of have to beat your way through the bush. This is a legitimate concern from the Torrens community, and over 700 local residents have petitioned to have the situation resolved.

An ancient form of having your opinion heard in parliament is to have people sign a petition in the community. I thank all 713 people for signing this petition and sharing their opinion with us. I would also like to thank the businesses who supported the petition, including Smogue Cafe, Cafe Neon, the Torrens Takeaway, Torrens Newsagent, Elixir Beauty Therapy, Ashley’s Hair Design, Modern Skincare Centre, and Hair by Simona.

My biggest thanks, however, goes to Natalia, a local mother who has worked very hard to get this petition up and running, for her unwavering energy. I first met Natalia on 20 October. We caught up at the Smogue Cafe for a coffee. Natalia wanted some advice on how to run a petition and how we could improve the kids’ park. We spoke for just a little while and Natalia wasted no time at all after our meeting. In less than a week she had copies of the petition in almost every store at the Torrens shops, and about 60 signatures in the first day or two. Her hard work and the generosity of local businesses, and the interest and care of local residents, are why this petition was able to reach 713 signatures.

A constituent recently wrote to me about the importance of this petition. She said that, while wanting to remain anonymous, she was happy for me to read out these words:

The playground in Torrens haven’t been upgraded in years and are extremely outdated. My children cannot even access the playground at the local public school after hours due to the fence that recently went up.

Please update the playground at the shops. It can be so isolating as a new mum and a welcoming local playground would provide a meeting place within walking distance for our children and our community.

These petitioners care about their local community, and have called upon the ACT government to take action and upgrade this playground. Playgrounds contribute to the physical and mental wellbeing of children and families. There are many studies which show the positive impacts playgrounds have on families. I have seen firsthand, and I have experienced firsthand, how quality playgrounds contribute to the wellbeing of mothers in particular. Mr Rattenbury will remember me last term banging on endlessly about fenced playgrounds, given that I have one child with ADHD who cannot stay still.

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