Lochiel Park

25 Feb 2004 archivespeech
This speech is to indicate support for the motion as amended by the Hon. Terry Cameron regarding Lochiel Park and congratulate the government on retaining 100 per cent of the open space at Lochiel Park.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I rise to indicate support for the motion as amended by the Hon. Terry Cameron. The Liberal Party is not supportive of the original motion as we believe that it misrepresents the facts. I highlight the relevant words of the Hon. Carmel Zollo's motion which congratulates the government on retaining 100 per cent of the open space at Lochiel Park. I state some of the facts for the record which may have been already put on the record but are worth repeating. On 8 February 2002, on the eve of the state election, Mike Rann made the following promise to the community:

We intend to save 100 per cent of Lochiel Park for community facilities and open space, not a private housing development.

On 9 September 2003, a press release issued by the Minister for Infrastructure stated, `The total Lochiel Park site is 15 hectares and 70 per cent will be left as open space.' When we look at these two statements and the original motion, there is a clear discrepancy. The Advertiser of 10 September 2003 reported:

Most of Lochiel Park, prime land next to the River Torrens, will be saved as open space but part of it will be carved up as housing. Infrastructure minister Patrick Conlon said yesterday 70 per cent of the 15 hectare site would remain open space.

The site is 15 hectares and 4.5 hectares is to be developed as housing. The opposition congratulates the persons named in the Hon. Terry Cameron's amendment who have taken a strong stand on preserving this valuable piece of open space through various means, including continually raising the issue in this place in order to keep the government to its 100 per cent pre-election commitment.

The member for Hartley (Mr Joe Scalzi) raised Lochiel Park in parliament no less than 13 times in an 18 month period. The Hon. Andrew Evans has asked questions of the government several times. The Hon. Nick Xenophon and the Hon. Sandra Kanck co-sponsored the Local Government (Lochiel Park) Amendment Bill in the interests of retaining the area as a public park. I understand that the member for Hartley had similar intentions focusing on community and sporting clubs. All of the above attended the rally and were readily accessible and prepared to listen to what people in the community had to say on the issue.

I have a copy of a document devoted to the retention of Lochiel Park produced by Supporters Protecting Areas of Community Environment (SPACE), dated November 2002. SPACE are the community campaigners who lobbied parliamentarians, and the main protagonists are Margaret Sewell and June Jenkins. Anyone who has been associated with this issue would know these two ladies well. I do not know them personally but I have read the media reports and Hansard, which attest to their commitment to the cause. These ladies, while not named as individuals, are the backbone of SPACE and are therefore inherent in the amendment. The last page of the Lochiel Park booklet lists the names of the people SPACE wishes to congratulate, stating:

Sincere thanks to the following who have generously given their advice and support throughout this last year:

The list is: Hon. Nick Xenophon; Hon. Bob Such; Hon. Andrew Evans; Hon. Sandra Kanck; Mr Joe Scalzi, member for Hartley; councillor Steve Liapis; National Trust of South Australia; Conservation Council of South Australia; Lynette Crocker, Chairperson, Kaurna Native Title Management Committee; Mr Kieran Brewer, South Australian Indigenous Flora; Campbelltown Landcare; Campbelltown Residents and Ratepayers Association; Tree Watch Group; Urban Forest Biodiversity Program; Mr Peter Bennett, a horticultural ecologist; Save our Adelaide Suburbs; Dr Jennifer Gardner from the Waite Arboretum; Mr Frank Ugodi, arborist; and Friends of the Heysen Trail.

I note in that rather comprehensive list that there is no mention of Mr Quentin Black, the Labor candidate for Hartley at the last election, or any member of the current government. Without wishing to be political, I note that the Labor Party put up Mr Quentin Black twice to stand for Hartley against Joe Scalzi and he was unsuccessful. Mr Black was thrust upon the local community in this process by the Labor Party during the election but unfortunately it did not produce the outcome it hoped for. I would like to read for the record the relevant section about this from Mike Rann's email of 8 February 2002:

Quentin Black has negotiated with myself and Kevin Foley that, if a Labor government is elected this Saturday, we will place a one-year moratorium over the Land Management Corporation's plan to develop Lochiel Park, immediately halting housing development. In that time, Mr Black will chair a thorough community consultation process with local residents, community groups, council and key stakeholders to decide how the space can best be preserved and used for the benefit of everyone in the community. We intend to save 100 per cent of Lochiel Park for community facilities and open space; not a private housing development as the Liberals have proposed. Mr Black will work with local open space community and sporting groups to plan how 100 per cent of Lochiel Park can be revitalised so that the whole community can benefit.

Clearly there were expectations that Mr Black would be elected and assist the Labor Party into government. In his second reading speech of 19 February 2003, the Hon. Nick Xenophon said that the position of the Labor Party was set out very clearly by Mr Black, and Mr Xenophon then referred to that 8 February 2002 statement by Mike Rann as representing Labor's position. He went on to say:

In terms of the subsequent history of this, the member for Hartley (Mr Scalzi) was re-elected, and all credit to Mr Scalzi, but a Labor government was elected. It is my view that this was a very clear promise. It was not conditional upon Mr Black being elected to the seat of Hartley. . .
I would say that it does not take a rocket scientist to see what has happened here. The ALP has cynically used the issue to advantage its candidate and, once he was unsuccessful, it was prepared to revise its position. It reminds me of the title of an infamous book by a Labor Party identity, Senator Graham Richardson—Whatever it Takes. Lochiel Park is just one example, along with the government's failure to act on electricity prices and land taxes—I could go on but I will not—that Labor is prepared to say anything and do anything to get into office but not act on the concerns of South Australians once they are in power.

I reiterate the comments of the Hon. Mr Cameron in his assessment of Mr Scalzi as a member of parliament and as elected representative of the people of Hartley. He is indeed a hardworking MP. I would also add for the record that I believe he is a compassionate, honest and very decent man, and the way that some members of the government have sought to undermine him are disgraceful examples of sleight of hand, and that is a reference to the door snakes issue last year. The original motion is an attempt to play politics at the expense of the member for Hartley and it should be rejected.