01 December 2021
The Hon. R.A. SIMMS:
The bill that I rise to speak on today seeks to include the Adelaide Parklands on the state's heritage list. The Adelaide Parklands, established in 1837, were the world's first public park, and Adelaide remains the only city in the world that is garlanded by parks. It is a reminder of just how fortunate we are, particularly during this time of climate emergency.
In 2008, the Parklands received national heritage listing by the then minister for environment, the Hon. Peter Garrett. In 2009, the process formally began to ask the state Heritage Council to consider whether SA should follow the federal government's lead and declare that the Parklands are worthy of state heritage recognition. Well, 12 years later we are still waiting.
A process of public consultation began in 2017 and featured a record number of public submissions in support of the state heritage listing. In 2018, the state government announced its intention to include the Parklands on the state heritage list, following a recommendation of the state Heritage Council, and yet here we are coming to the end of 2021 and we still have no action from the Marshall government.
Indeed, the former Labor government were silent on this too. At a time when South Australians expect to see our beautiful and rare city green spaces included on the state heritage list, both of our major parties have failed to take action. That is why the Greens have taken the step of introducing this private member's bill today.
The bill is a simple one. All it seeks to do is include the Parklands on the state's heritage list. Once we do this, it would certainly strengthen the case for any world heritage consideration, something that the Adelaide Park Lands Association and others have been campaigning for for some time.
This bill is very timely because we know that the Parklands are under threat like never before. Just the last period of sitting we saw the Labor and Liberal parties vote in unison to defeat my private member's bill that would have ensured this parliament had oversight over any rezoning of the Parklands. Sadly, that has opened the way not only to the sports arena on the Helen Mayo Park but also the other things that the government has in its sights in terms of rezoning—cafes, apartment towers, restaurants and the like. All of these things have been included in the government's rezoning plans. Sadly, the government is now able to press ahead with those without parliamentary oversight.
Unfortunately, this bill will not correct that. That horse has bolted. What it would do is ensure that, if there is going to be any development of the Parklands in future, there is consideration of what this means for the state heritage values of the site. I think that is a really vitally important safeguard of our city's iconic green space.
In order to be considered for state heritage listing, an area must include early or important settlements, other significant towns or suburbs of heritage value or natural landscapes. It seems completely at odds that the government is still assessing the worth of the Parklands when it met its national heritage standards more than 12 years ago. It really is time for this parliament to act.
To give you a sense of other areas that are state heritage listed, we have 17 state heritage areas that reflect heritage of importance to all South Australians. These are: Arckaringa Hills, Belair National Park, Beltana, Burra, Colonel Light Gardens, Gawler Church Hill, Goolwa, Hahndorf, Cooper Creek, Mintaro, Moonta Mines, Mount Gambier Cave Gardens, Mount Gambier Volcanic Complex, Mount Shank, Mount Torrens, Penola and Port Adelaide
Looking at this list, it is clear that the Parklands would be a worthy inclusion. South Australians know how precious our Parklands are. They are the envy of cities all around the world. They are the lungs of our city, and it is time that we took all steps necessary to protect their cultural, historic, Indigenous and environmental heritage. This private member's bill, which would provide state heritage listing, is an important step in that regard.
I do not know what the future holds. If we find that we are in this place in the new year, I would like to bring this bill to a head and to a vote. If I have an opportunity to do that, I will do so, but if not, I will certainly—should I be fortunate enough to be re-elected—reintroduce a similar bill after the next state election and give this place an opportunity to vote on it.
I think it is important for this parliament to take this important step of recognising the value of our iconic green space, and that is precisely what this bill does. With that, I commend the bill.