Appropriation Grievances

Wednesday 02 July, 2014

Mr TARZIA (Hartley) (20:58): I rise tonight to beseech the government and call on its support for funding for a significant project in the seat of Hartley, namely, the Felixstow Reserve master plan. Anyone who knows the area and knows the Felixstow master plan would know that for many years, unfortunately, this part of the world, this patch of grass, has been significantly under-utilised by the community. It is through the great efforts of the Eastern Region Alliance—an alliance of seven councils in metropolitan Adelaide, including: the City of Burnside, the City of Norwood, Payneham and St Peters, the Corporation of the Town of Walkerville, the Campbelltown City Council and the City of Tea Tree Gully—and a significant project called Waterproofing Eastern Adelaide whereby an opportunity has arisen for these councils to work together to better utilise the scarce resources we have, and the most scarce resource is water.

What I would like to do is explain a little bit about what the project entails, some of the features and benefits of it, talk a little bit about the consultation and then, finally, call on the government to support the project, to put its hand in its pockets and to support funding for this great project. Felixstow Reserve has been underutilised for many years now. In fact, as a young man, I used to actually use Felixstow Reserve on Saturday mornings to play Auskick but, for many years now, it has been significantly underused. If this project does go ahead, it will certainly lead to much greater use.

There are many social issues involved and improvements in social use should this go ahead, as well as cultural issues and the obvious environmental issues. I would like to talk a little bit about the sorts of benefits that can be expected if the Felixstow Reserve master plan does go ahead. Obviously, open space is extremely important; however, once this site is developed, you will see certain amenities improved, and I will explain what they are.

Firstly, you will see a U-shaped wetland located along the River Torrens Linear Park and at the reserve, which will be several hectares in size. There will still be a large open-space area for passive recreational use, and this is obviously very important because we want to make sure that families in the area still have ample opportunity to walk their dogs on weekends and play with their children. Large open space is extremely important and will still exist under this proposal.

There will also be a network of pathways and walkways. As you know, sir, being a keen cyclist, there are a number of cyclists who use the Linear Park and surrounding area, so it will be extremely important that these sorts of pathways and walkways are installed here to enhance the various features of the reserve and the surrounding amenity.

I am pleased to say that, under the proposal, there will also be natural play equipment in the lower reserve located in Linear Park. That is obviously important because we want to put out to the community that exercising is important. We want to emphasise the need for safer, stronger and healthier communities as well. There will also be fitness equipment located strategically throughout the reserve and viewing platforms for the wetland. It is hoped that significant flora and fauna would also be in the area and on the site.

As you can see, there are a number of positive features and a number of positive benefits involved with this project. The total ERE project is estimated to be about $28 million worth, $9.5 million of which was actually funded by federal government funding, while $2 million has been provided by the Adelaide & Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board. The remaining money will mostly be funded through the proposed regional subsidiary, with the councils acting as guarantors. I would also ask the state government to put its hand in its pockets and support this project.

Apart from mentioning the features and benefits, I note that this plan has actually gone to consultation. To the local council's credit—the Payneham, Norwood and St Peters council—several days of consultation have been held. I know of two recent days of consultation, both of which I attended. I applaud the council and the local volunteers who assisted in holding these consultation days.

I note that, on one consultation day, 92 written submissions had been received, whereby 94 per cent of respondents were supportive of a wetland being developed at Felixstow Reserve, so there is a clear positive majority here. The local community understands that this is an underutilised resource. They understand that the sky is the limit for this resource. If you can improve the amenity of a public resource, why not? At the same time, there are obvious advantages in doing so—advantages for the social implications of the area, the cultural implications of the area and, most importantly, the environmental implications. If a local council area is able to better capture the stormwater that it is able to, why not?

I would ask the state government in its future budgets to consider supporting the Felixstow master plan concept. It has been released for public consultation, as I mentioned. It has enormous positive impacts on the community and I would certainly be disappointed if I saw in the next budget that the state government was not supporting this project.