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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 March 2018) . . Page.. 852 ..

The vast majority of brain development occurs in the first five years of life. The most fundamental driver of that is the interactions children have with their primary caregiver, either their parent or an early childhood professional. That is referred to as early learning, for Mr Hanson’s benefit. But there is no doubt that a child’s environment, the environment that they are subject to, also has an impact on their development, so developmentally appropriate community infrastructure is certainly beneficial for children’s development in the long term.

I am very confident that the government is making progress on this issue—Minister Fitzharris’s amendment makes that clear—by looking to establish an ongoing mechanism for the maintenance, upgrade and establishment of playgrounds across Canberra as part of the better suburbs consultation.

One of the messages that I have heard clearly from the community in suburbs across the south side is that they like to have playgrounds close to their local shops—much like at the Chifley shops, which is held up as a bit of a gold standard, as Ms Le Couteur mentioned. I am sure that the government, through the better suburbs project, will be hearing those messages from the community as well.

I will be supporting Ms Le Couteur’s amendment, which acknowledges both the extensive work undertaken to date on this proposal and also that, in assessing such proposals, the government has a range of competing priorities and proposals from the community which it needs to consider and work on with communities in a range of ways to be able to deliver improved community infrastructure. I will also be supporting Ms Fitzharris’s amendment, which further progresses the policy direction with regard to playgrounds in the ACT.

Notwithstanding my support for discussing this issue here today, I want to raise a matter of process. In the motion that Mr Hanson placed on the notice paper, there seems to be an inconsistency with standing order 200, which reflects section 65 of the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988. It is a long-established practice that an enactment, vote or resolution, proposal, for the appropriation of public money of the territory must not be proposed in the Assembly except by a minister. Mr Hanson is not a minister. I am sure he would like to be. The terms of the motion oblige the government to undertake certain activities and binds future appropriations. This is the clear intent of the second part of the motion, evidenced by the express reference to the 2018-19 budget. I flag this as an example of an issue that may be considered by the administration and procedure committee in its review of the standing orders.

MS CODY (Murrumbidgee) (4.03): I rise today to talk briefly about the Waramanga playground and the Waramanga community’s efforts in getting together and working together to put in a submission for rebuilding their community and adding more to it. I have met with members of the Waramanga residents association, and particularly those involved with the proposal for the new playground, and they are very passionate about ensuring that this playground goes ahead, as Mr Hanson has raised today.

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