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Fighting to Protect Our Parklands

17 November 2021

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: I thank the Hon. Frank Pangallo for his support, and I express regret at the position of the Labor and Liberal parties. They often have stoushes in this place, but they always get back together again, particularly when it comes to taking over our public green space, and that is what we are seeing happening here tonight.

Make no mistake that what the Labor Party are doing here in opposing this bill is they are facilitating the government's plans to take over our public green space. They are facilitating the rezoning of the Parklands. They are opening the door not only to the sports arena, which they say they oppose, they are also opening the door to the other rezoning the government has proposed: cafes, shops, apartment towers, nightclubs, low level industry, because the government can do all of this without bringing the matter to parliament.

That is precisely what my bill was trying to address. It was trying to ensure this parliament has a say on changes that would fundamentally change the character of our Parklands and of our city's green space. Sadly, the Labor Party have totally missed an opportunity here to show some backbone, to stand up to the Liberals and to defend our Parklands from what is in effect a takeover from the development sector.

The idea of giving the Liberals the keys to develop our Parklands is like giving Count Dracula the keys to the blood bank. Once the development sector sink their teeth in they will change the character of our public space forever. I agree with the Labor Party on one thing: we do not need a multimillion dollar sports stadium. After all, if members of the South Australian community want to come along and watch an Olympic-style backflip they can come to this chamber and watch the Labor Party in action, because that is what we are seeing tonight: an embarrassing backflip, an appalling capitulation to this Liberal government.

The Treasurer has got me. Sneaky Simms has been exposed again, because he is right: I am no supporter of the planning regime that was set in place by the previous Labor government. I am no fan of the idea that we can see development on our public land—on our national heritage-listed Parklands—without even giving the parliament a say.

It is pathetic that the Labor Party have not joined with the Greens in supporting this and that they have not had the moral courage to stand with us and with the SA-Best party and others and say to the government, 'If you are wanting to rezone our public space, you have to come to this parliament and defend what you are doing.' As a result, tonight the sports arena is well and truly on the agenda. The minister can give the green light to that rezoning at any time, and not only that but the raft of other commercial development the government has in its sights.

The Treasurer can say, 'We don't plan to do anything on Pinky Flat.' Well, why on earth are they seeking a rezoning? If they do not want to do anything with that space, why are they trying to rezone it? They are trying to rezone it because they want to let the genie out of the bottle and give developers a chance to move into our Parklands. This is a really dark day for our public green space.

I will be calling a division on this matter so that all members of the community can see who stands with the community in defending our national heritage-listed Parklands and who stands with the big end of town and the development sector that want to exploit this public land.