31 May 2023
The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (16:41): I am really dismayed to hear that the government are not going to be supporting this select committee. I am really dismayed, but it is part of, unfortunately, what we are seeing at the moment: a habit from this Labor government when it comes to the Parklands, of being advocates when in opposition, but when they find themselves on the red leather benches suddenly things change. When they find themselves on the government benches things change.
One of the terms of reference in this inquiry is the benefits that would flow from state heritage listing. Let's not forget that back in 2022, prior to the state election, I put forward a bill to this place that would add the Adelaide Parklands to the State Heritage Register. It was supported by the then Liberal government and the Labor opposition and, indeed, every party in this place. I had considered that there was then a real opportunity after the election to get this legislation through but, sadly, when the Labor Party found themselves in government they reneged on that commitment, and that is deeply disappointing.
Since then, we have seen a range of raids on our Parklands, and I think it is a case of saying one thing in opposition and doing something very different in government. That is why the Greens are supportive of this inquiry, because it would provide an opportunity to address the full range of issues relating to the Parklands, in particular relating to heritage listing—one of the passions that the Greens have—but also the process around the selection of the police barracks for SAPOL and, indeed, I have engaged with the opposition around suggesting some potential inclusions, and I welcome the fact that they have incorporated those.
One of those is an examination of the role of the Adelaide Park Lands Authority and its powers, and I think there is a real opportunity to give the Adelaide Park Lands Authority more teeth when it comes to managing our public space to ensure that the Parklands are protected. I should say both major parties have a bad track record when it comes to managing the Parklands, but I welcome this effort by the Liberal Party to potentially make amends, and to look into some of the issues affecting the Parklands and their management going forward. I would certainly welcome the opportunity to be a part of the committee should it be established.