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Prohibit Parklands Rezoning

14 June 2023

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (16:35): Obtained leave and introduced a bill for an act to amend the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016. Read a first time.

Second Reading

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (16:35): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

This bill may be familiar to members of this chamber. I introduced it into the previous parliament. The genesis behind the bill was the then Liberal government's efforts to seize the Parklands, to attempt to rezone the Riverbank Precinct and to allow the minister of the day to give the green light to some commercial development on the Parklands. There was significant community outcry about that, so I introduced a bill that was seeking to amend the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act to prevent any government from being able to rezone the Parklands to allow for development without the approval of both houses of parliament.

Since that time, of course, we have seen the election of the Malinauskas government, which has continued the tradition of seizing the Parklands for development. It has been very disappointing to the Greens to see the Malinauskas government treating the Parklands as a land bank. I do want to commend them, though, for changing course and listening to the community when it comes to housing the new police barracks.

Members will recall the Greens moved an amendment to the original hospital bill, which was designed to prevent the minister from being able to allocate a slab of the Parklands to SAPOL for a new barracks. Unfortunately, we were the only party in the parliament to support that amendment, but that would have prevented the saga that we have seen over the last few months around SAPOL and the police barracks.

I do welcome the government changing course, but what this has demonstrated to me, the community outcry but also in particular the position of the Liberal opposition in that debate, is that there may be an opportunity to revisit this bill, which would provide better safeguards for our Parklands. Because the opposition in particular have been so engaged with this particular debate, it has given me renewed confidence that there may be an opportunity for this bill to pass this chamber. That is why I have put it forward again.

The bill was opposed by both the Labor and Liberal parties in the last parliament, but in light of the opposition's support now for the Parklands, I feel optimistic that they will come on board and support this bill. If they do not do so, then members of the community may indeed question the legitimacy of their commitment to the Parklands, the depth of their commitment, if it does not extend to legislating for enhanced protections. I will have an opportunity to test that proposition in coming weeks.

Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. J.E. Hanson.