Proposed Amendment to Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill (No. 2) 2015

Proposed Amendment to Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill (No. 2) 2015

(Consideration in Detail, 18 November 2015, Legislative Assembly, NSW Parliament)

I move:
No. 1 Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Act 1978 No 72
Page 8, Schedule 1.13 lines 9 – 36 Omit all words on those lines.

Statute law should only cover inconsequential laws. The Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill (No. 2) 2015 will provide for a six-storey building to be built on public land dedicated for public recreation. The site is currently the gold members' car park. The six-storey building will result in much greater alienation as members of the public cannot walk across a building as they can across a car park. Contrary to what I was told this morning in my token briefing, the car park is well used and almost full most of the time. In fact, my constituents told me that it was almost full this morning. It is always full during sporting events. As the gold members' car park is large where will those cars now be parked? This new building will add to car parking demands.

The Sydney Cricket Ground has consistently tried to expand its parking on Moore Park. Are we going to get more cars parking on our public grasslands as a result of this development or will there be another aggressive push for parking at Moore Park west, or an underground car park on the parklands? Unlike other developments in this State, developments on Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust land do not go through an open and transparent public environmental impact assessment process. There is already no transparent process for developments on this site. Adding to that, this dangerous precedent that the Government is setting by slipping rubber-stamped developments into statute law, breaks all the conventions and traditions. In the future members will need to go through statute law item by item and detail by detail to ensure that the Government has not rubber-stamped any development without going through due process.

There will be no heritage plan, traffic management plan or arborist report. Parliament is the only opportunity for the community to be consulted and to scrutinise this proposed development. We are awaiting a business case for the redevelopment of Allianz Stadium on a site for a much larger stadium that would seat 55,000 patrons. How will the loss of the gold members' car park, or development on that site, impact this proposal? Again, that is unclear because this proposal is being put into statute law which is a total disgrace. My constituents use and care a lot about this public land. There is a long history of local communities opposing development on the alienation of the Macquarie bequest.

Being on public land dedicated for public recreation is not inconsequential, and this provision must be removed. Including this provision in statute law sets a very worrying precedent that future bills will purposely sneak in items to allow development on public land without public scrutiny. I ask the Minister whether the Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust has ever applied to the Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust to use some of Moore Park for overflow parking during the week because of the pressure on the Sydney Cricket Ground car park from members as well as people visiting the various sporting bodies located there. If the provisions for an Australian Rugby Union Development Centre are so great, this is proof that they are not inconsequential. Such comments support my amendment to have the provision removed.

If this development and the required amendment to the Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Act are so important and so time-sensitive why are we not dealing with it by substantive legislation in its own right? Why is the Government engaging in a process of sneaking these provisions into statute law? Why is the Opposition likely to support this process? In 1811 Governor Macquarie's 1,000 acre bequest was for the "benefit of the present and all succeeding inhabitants of Sydney". The land, which was known as the Sydney Common, included what is now known as the Sydney Cricket Ground. Bit by bit successive governments, Liberal and Labor, have betrayed the Macquarie bequest with continuous encroachment.

We have seen a $38 million bridge that is hardly used constructed across parklands without any public consultation or any public process. Quite rightly it has been scrutinised by the Auditor-General as a wasteful process. I cannot emphasise this enough: We are using statute law miscellaneous provisions to put through development on public land. If this matter is so important why are we not dealing with it as a separate bill? Why has the Government sought to sneak this through in, at best, an opaque process?

It is sneaky and it is dodgy to put development proposals into statute law, and it sets a dangerous precedent. It is something that members of the Legislative Council and members in this place will continue to scrutinise and it reveals a shameful disregard for people who live around Moore Park and in the electorates of Heffron, Newtown, Sydney and other nearby electorates. It is shameful that even open and transparent processes are being completely disregarded. We have little detail about the rubber-stamped development that is being included in statute law apart from the fact that it will have six storeys and result in cars parking on parkland. I commend my amendment to the House.

Minister for Sport statement HERE

I have a number of concerns about the statement just made by the Minister for Sport. He was talking about how privatising land through a 75-year lease to the Australian Rugby Union [ARU] is somehow "for public use", when that space could very well be used for open, green recreation space in what is one of the most densely populated parts of Australia and in which more and more people are living. In fact, 60,000 people are coming into the Green Square development. We should not be plonking buildings there. We should be turning car parks into parkland as the member for Newtown has so rightly said.

If this proposal has so much merit and is so important, why have we not been dealing with this as a separate piece of legislation? Why has the Government snuck it into statute law? The Minister for Sport is able to prepare his own bills. I do not believe he has produced legislation this year. Why not be open and transparent with his own legislation? Why try to sneak it into other bills? I think this sets a very dangerous precedent for this place. I am greatly concerned about the lack of process, the lack of transparency and what is a really dodgy way to do something.

Further debate and Minister for Sport response HERE

Let's work together to celebrate and protect our great city!