Protect Moore Park

Protect Moore Park

(Motion, 13 August 2015, Legislative Assembly, Parliament House)

I move:

That this House calls on the Government to:

(1) Protect Moore Park from any further commercialisation, development or encroachment.

(2) Ensure Moore Park is not transferred to the Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust.


Two proposals to build on and completely decimate Moore Park have been exposed this year. I move this motion to give the Government the opportunity to bury these proposals and any future proposals for development on our parklands and to once and for all commit to the future protection of our parklands. The Centennial Parklands provide a vital recreation resource to the Sydney population, and have done so since they were set aside by Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1811 as part of the Sydney Common. However, successive governments have not respected the Macquarie bequest and have supported massive encroachments.

In the past 20 years we have seen the temporary tram sheds of Moore Park sold to create a Supa Centre; 2.2 hectares of Moore Park removed to make way for the Eastern Distributor; car parking continue on Moore Park east during events at the stadia, despite promises for its removal to compensate for the Eastern Distributor; major music festivals and commercial events fence off parklands from public use; the Fox Studios leasehold and massive development that bears no relevance to films, as required in the original lease—and further development is mooted—offices and the National Rugby League headquarters built on public land managed by the Sydney Cricket Ground [SCG], with the removal of old-growth trees; laws that restricted development on SCG land to public recreation changed to allow commercial, residential and tourist accommodation buildings in the future; significant Moore Park land carved off for the Anzac Parade busway; significant Moore Park land built over by the Tibby Cotter Bridge, at a cost of $38 million to taxpayers; massive parts of both Moore Park and Centennial Park to be built on for the CBD and South East Light Rail; and plans to build a synthetic field over grasslands on Moore Park, with mature trees already cut down.

Less than one third of the original Macquarie bequest is now open, public land. But the biggest, most outrageous threats have been exposed only recently—threats that would completely destroy Moore Park as we know it. The first is from a well-known culprit: the Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust, which has a long history of blatant attempts to grab Moore Park land. In 2010 its secret plan to control Moore Park east to build on, park cars on, commercialise and privatise was stopped only by a massive community campaign launched by residents, community groups, Lord Mayor Clover Moore—who was then also the local member of Parliament—Neville Wran, Malcolm Turnbull and David Shoebridge.

And Bruce Notley-Smith. The sporting trust continues to plot for Moore Park land behind closed doors. Everyone knows that the Tibby Cotter Bridge, which does not serve cyclists or take the most intuitive route for pedestrians, is part of the trust's plan to link pedestrians from Moore Park west, which it hopes one day will be a car park. Now the trust wants to build a 65,000-seat stadium adjacent to Kippax Lake, which the Government is considering and its stadium adviser, John Brogden, is soon to report on. Encouraged by the Government's failure to refuse developing our parklands, other sporting bodies have now joined the assault, with Tennis NSW recently revealing it wants a 10,000-seat tennis arena at Moore Park, with two potential locations mooted.

The Moore Park master plan was due to be released this year and I understand that it has been stalled by the Government because it excludes development. This is outrageous. We must not decimate vital green public open space for private gain at a time when the need to expand it is greater than ever. Adjacent populations are increasing rapidly and existing and future residents will live with little or no private open space. More than 54,000 residents will move into apartments at Green Square alone by 2030. Where will residents walk, run, exercise, play informal sport, lie in the sun and picnic if there is no expansive grassland left? Creating pocket parks is not enough to ensure healthy and sustainable densely populated communities. Any further loss of parkland is irresponsible and is a recipe for future toxic communities. Our sporting bodies will continue to plot for their share of public parklands unless the Government, with the support of the Opposition, once and for all declares Centennial Park and Moore Park off limits. It must send a strong message that development, alienation and commercialisation will never be permitted on the parklands.

Prior to the election, the former environment Minister said that the Government would not consider any changes without the agreement of both trusts. This is not good enough. The clear message should be that the Government will not permit further loss of public open space under any circumstances. The Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust has come out strongly with the community to condemn the Sydney Cricket Ground proposal and we will continue to fight for the preservation of the parklands. Spectator sport is important, but it should not be at the expense of healthy and sustainable communities. There are alternatives to decimating our parklands, including upgrading sporting grounds at Olympic Park and Parramatta, which have community support. Our precious parklands must finally be respected and permanently protected; they should never be considered for commercialisation, development or encroachment. I call on the House to support this motion, to support the recreation needs of inner-city, inner south and east Sydney residents now and in the future, and to rule out any building, alienation or commercialisation of Moore Park or its handover to any sporting bodies. I commend the motion to the House.

For full debate and amendments click HERE

In reply:

It is wonderful that members from both sides of Parliament have come together to protect our parklands and in particular Moore Park. After the member for Coogee sought to amend the motion and the member for Heffron sought to further amend the motion to protect our parklands my motion has really become a motion of the House. We also heard contributions from the member for Newtown, the member for Balmain and, of course, the member for Vaucluse. We have parklands only because local communities have been willing to fight for their preservation and will continue to fight for them.

Parklands are publicly owned and held in trust for the people. The public needs the lands for passive recreation, and that must be respected now and into the future. We need formal guarantees to protect our parklands. The only thing we hear about now is the building of massive stadiums. Governor Lachlan Macquarie's request in 1811 for 405 acres of land for the outdoor recreation needs of future Sydney generations was visionary and that land must be protected. I commend the motion and the amendment to the amendment to the House. 

For full debate and amendments click HERE

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