Michelle Lensink

Linear Parks Amendment Bill

Remarks on Linear Parks (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I rise to make some remarks in relation to this piece of legislation. The Linear Parks Act has heretofore only been applied to what we understand to be the Linear Park, which is along the Torrens, but does provide for other linear parks to be created.

The bill, as I understand it, is one of improving administrative efficiency, from the point of view of the government at least, to harmonise the range of parcels into one park and therefore create a single regime by which they may be created, rather than utilising the various acts in which the parcels may be currently held.

I note from the government's second reading explanation that they have an aspirational plan of creating additional corridors at Gawler River, Little Para River, Dry Creek, Sturt River, Field River, Christie Creek, Onkaparinga River, Pedler Creek and Port Willunga Creek. They also state in the second reading that the minister will be granted the same powers that local councils enjoy with respect to local government roads.

Linear parks are certainly a great recreational facility for our communities, so anything that assists in their development is to be welcomed. However, the Liberal Party does have some concerns in light of the goings on with Coast Park, in particular Tennyson Dunes and the activities of the Charles Sturt council, which had undertaken some proper consultation before the council election. Under the previous council, they did some proper consultation and came up with a particular proposal that had the support of the community, which was then changed after the election. The local residents took the council to court and their complaints were upheld. I think that particular process has been completely unsatisfactory, and shame on the council for its behaviour in that matter.

From that, we have had specific concerns that this may be used as a means to get around the proper consultation process. I certainly was not disavowed of that view following the briefing that I had with the government that local communities could have their wishes overridden by these particular changes to the legislation. So, I am pleased to see that some amendments have been included, I think at the instigation of the Hon. Mark Parnell but drafted in the name of the minister. I certainly think that is a great improvement to the bill.

The passage of the bill will allow the government to create these parcels of new linear parks with adjoining parcels of land. Overall, we believe this is a positive move, with some reservations that local communities do need to have their wishes taken into consideration. Therefore, we welcome the amendments that have been tabled and we will certainly be supporting those. With those remarks, I commend the bill to the house.

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