Greater Sydney Parklands Trust Bill 2021

Greater Sydney Parklands Trust Bill 2021

(Debate, 29 March 2022, Legislative Assembly, NSW Parliament)

I make a brief contribution to consideration of the Legislative Council amendments to the Greater Sydney Parklands Trust Bill 2021.

At the outset, I reiterate the comments of the member for Wollongong, who thanked the Minister and his staff for their consultative approach. I also give a special shout‑out to Estelle Grech for her great work with a wide variety of members who had various competing interests regarding the bill. I put on record my community's frustration that again this Parliament has sold out public land for vested interests. Despite some improvements to the role and influence of the community consultative committees, the Legislative Council removed two key parkland wins that made the bill very worthwhile. Many are concerned that it now represents little more than a bureaucratic restructure.

The bill that passed this House would have taken all cars off Moore Park by the end of 2023. This has now been pushed back to the end of 2025. What could be more offensive than using public, green recreation space as a car parking station? The sporting stadia have been using the parkland as a patrons' car park for decades. The grasslands have suffered from constant damage and lack of landscaping. Soon Venues NSW will get a new car park above ground and below ground, and by the time car parking is removed from Moore Park the stadia will have received a net gain in car parking spaces. This is despite the massive investment in light rail and the Tibby Cotter bridge that helps people get to the stadia by public transport—but which, I might add, permanently alienated chunks of parkland. This is despite the traffic gridlock that car use continues to cause during events. Unfortunately, in the New South Wales Parliament we have seen time and time again that what the sporting trust wants, the sporting trust gets.

The Legislative Council also reversed my amendment that would have limited leases on land under the custodianship of the Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust to 50 years. Leases of 99 years will now be permitted on public land dedicated for community recreation. This essentially permits freehold ownership of public land. It was done to facilitate the sell‑off of the former showgrounds land for commercial profit. When millionaires and The Daily Telegraph lobby the major parties, they back vested interests over public interest. I am committed to defending green open space in my community, but it is difficult to get an outcome when the Government and Opposition join forces to privatise public land.

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