House of Assembly: Thursday, March 23, 2023


Adelaide Parklands

Mr BATTY (Bragg) (15:19): I rise today to speak about what I see as one of the greatest assets of our city, which is our Adelaide Parklands. The Adelaide Parklands is something that has set our city apart, supporting biodiversity, supporting heritage and supporting recreation right in the heart of our city. They have been described by some as the lungs of our city and by others, indeed by those opposite, as 'green gold'. That green gold is very unique.

In 1837, the Adelaide Parklands became the world's first public planned park and today, nearly a couple of hundred years later, Adelaide remains the only city in the world that is built inside a park. It is a very big park indeed. Our 700 hectares of Parklands is about twice as big as Central Park in New York and about four times larger than Centennial Park in Sydney.

But over my lifetime, in particular, we have seen the size of our Parklands shrink. Too often, I think, our Parklands seem to be under threat from developers or, perhaps more concerningly, governments that are keen to use our Adelaide Parklands as a source of free land. That is one of the reasons the Liberals have strongly supported both the state heritage listing and the world heritage bid for our Adelaide Parklands, and I commend the work of the Leader of the Opposition as the former environment minister in this space.

Right now, one year into the Malinauskas Labor government, our Adelaide Parklands are under threat as they never have been before, which is very surprising when you look at what Labor said about the Parklands prior to the election, and indeed what they said then versus what they are doing now very much seems to be the theme of the week. What they said then on the Parklands—and I will read from their policy document—was that Labor will 'protect Adelaide's unique Parklands'.

Labor has broken their Parklands promise with alarming speed and with alarming severity, including by not supporting the state heritage listing of the Parklands and now seemingly setting their sights on Park 21 West for the development of office blocks and stables in that park. This latest Parklands grab is impacting what Bush For Life calls the most significant native remnant vegetation remaining in the Adelaide Parklands.

Ms Hood interjecting:

Mr BATTY: The member for Adelaide interjects, and I would encourage her to go out and visit her constituents at Park 21 West, just as I did the other day, because they are very, very concerned.

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order!

Mr BATTY: They are very concerned with what is coming—

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Member for Hurtle Vale!

Mr BATTY: —because far from being an empty, dry, barren patch of dirt, as some have implied, Park 21 West is actually one of the very few areas of the Parklands where we have actively sought to revegetate. It is home to 85 species of native plants and animals, including threatened species.

I do not know whether the member for Adelaide knows this, and I do not know whether the Malinauskas Labor government knows this, but what I do know is they have not tried to find out, because there has been no consultation on this latest Parklands grab at all. There has been no consultation with Bush For Life, whose volunteers have cared for this site lovingly for over 15 years now. There has been no consultation with the traditional owners of the land, and I note that this was one of the originally identified sites for the first Kaurna burn in an Australian capital city. This is what Bush For Life tells me.

Of course, there has been no consultation that we can see with Adelaide City Council either. I note that Adelaide City Council has their own detailed concept plan for that park, which was widely consulted on. What we do see is just another land grab in our Adelaide Parklands, just another broken promise from the Malinauskas Labor government, a government that simply does not care about our Parklands.