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Heritage Listing the Parklands (Bill Passes the Upper House)

20 October 2022

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: Given some time has passed since we dealt with this bill, I will just briefly summarise the history behind this. The Adelaide Parklands were established in 1837, the world's first public park, and Adelaide remains the only city in the world that is fully garlanded by parks. It is often said that Adelaide is a city in a park, not a city in a car park as many seem to envisage for the CBD.

In 2008, the Parklands received national heritage listing by the then federal Minister for the Environment, the Hon. Peter Garrett. It was in 2009 that the process formally began to ask the State Heritage Council to consider whether SA should follow the federal government's lead and actually provide that state heritage protection.

Well, 12 years later and still the clock is ticking. There was a process of public consultation back in 2017, and I understand there were a record number of submissions and I observed this when I first introduced the bill in the previous parliament. There was also a recommendation of the State Heritage Council to include the Parklands on the state heritage list, so it is disingenuous for the government to claim that the process has not been followed or that there has been insufficient consultation.

I want to thank the opposition and SA-Best for their support of this bill. The position of SA-Best is consistent with the view that they expressed to the Parklands Association in a survey that was published on their website in the lead-up to the last election. In that survey the SA-Best party stated, and I quote from that submission:

We would like to see legislation to declare the Adelaide Parklands heritage listed to provide them with this high level of protection into the future, and a bill reintroduced and passed in the new parliament. We will strongly support that and pressure for it to be a priority in the House of Assembly.

It goes on to further say:

SA-Best has strongly supported national and state heritage listing, and we will do whatever is necessary to support this land being rezoned back into its original process.

I appreciate the support of the Hon. Connie Bonaros for this bill, and it is my expectation that will continue going forward, consistent with the position they took to the last election.

It is disappointing, however, to note the position of the Labor Party. They say that a week is a long time in politics. Well, seven months must be a whole age, because when they were in opposition they were very happy to pour scorn on the Liberal Party, and rightly so because their record on the Parklands is abysmal, but they were very happy to pour scorn on the Liberals, but then when they are in government, when they have their bums on the treasury benches, what are they doing in terms of actually delivering on a different outcome?

Back in February every political party in this place supported state heritage listing for the Adelaide Parklands. What has changed? They won the seat of Adelaide and now they are taking it for granted. I can tell you that there were lots of people who supported the Labor Party in the seat of Adelaide because they were aghast at the Liberal's management of the Parklands and contempt for our public green space, yet what have they got from the new Labor government? They have got more of the same.

Might I say, at least the Liberals supported this bill in the last parliament. They said they would make it a priority and they have stood firm in supporting it in this place. The same cannot be said for Labor. With friends like the Labor Party, the Parklands hardly need enemies. I had an opportunity to look back at the second reading speeches given on this bill, and I want to quote from a statement made by the Hon. Emily Bourke on 8 February in this place. I make no criticism of the Hon. Emily Bourke, she was simply stating the position of the Labor Party at that time. She said in her speech:

A state heritage area may include areas notable for their distinct heritage characters or a sense of place formed by building and structures, spaces and allotments, patterns of streets and natural features or the development of the landscape.

The Adelaide Parklands fits well within all of the above qualities of what makes it an important and valued sense of space.

She goes on to talk about how this bill was an important way of recognising those characteristics. Why has the Labor Party changed its position? It is very easy to talk about loving the Parklands, but do not pay attention to what comes out of their mouths—look at what they do with their feet. Look at how they vote on the Parklands. That is the test and that is the test of leadership that the Labor Party has failed time and time again when it comes to our public green space.

If they love the Parklands, they should list the Parklands, bring South Australia into line with the national heritage listing and show some leadership on this issue—stop the flip-flopping, stop the backflipping. This is the party that gave away our Parklands, our public green space behind this very building, to the Walker Corporation many years ago. South Australians are aghast at seeing this monument to the development sector that is being erected behind our state parliament and they will be urging Labor to show some leadership on this issue and to support the position that they took in the lead-up to the last election; that is, to support this bill.

Bill read a second time.