Liberal Government Refuses to Listen to the Community on Moore Park Development

Today the NSW Liberal Government refused to listen to the community on the Moore Park development proposal. We need to protect our inner-city green spaces.


Ms JENNY LEONG (Newtown) [7.02 p.m.]: I support the amendment of the member for Sydney to remove schedule 1.13 from the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill (No 2) 2015. As the bill is titled, it is for miscellaneous provisions and, as was stated by the Attorney General when she introduced the bill into this House, it is supposed to be for inconsequential amendments to legislation. It is not supposed to be about controversial issues. It might be that members opposite believe that a five- to six-storey building is inconsequential, but we are talking about a five- to six-storey building in Moore Park which, people might be aware, is a park.

What we are seeing here is an attempt to rush this through. The Minister for Sport has said that this bill is time sensitive and we need to rush it through. Over the course of this year there have been many occasions in this House on which the Government has chosen to suspend standing orders to enable legislation to be debated more quickly. If it is of a time sensitive nature, there was nothing to stop the Minister for Sport introducing a bill to this place so that it could be debated on its merits outside a miscellaneous provisions bill. There is nothing to stop the Minister for Sport from doing that now. There is nothing to stop the Government suspending standing orders and rushing something through if it is so time sensitive.

Despite the fact that many members have raised concerns about this, the fact that it is being included in a miscellaneous provisions bill shows that there is actually something sneaky and dodgy going on. Maybe we need to ask: Why the rush? And maybe we know that the answer is that the community will be up in arms. Maybe it is because the Minister for Sport knows that the member for Heffron, the member for Sydney, the Lord Mayor of Sydney and I have joined together and have raised our concerns that the Minister for Sport has been land grabbing in the Moore Park area and not respecting it as open and green space that should be protected. Instead he sees it as vacant space, ready to develop and build new things on.

I can tell the Minister for Sport and the Government that Moore Park is something that we need to protect. Whether or not it is used as a gold members' car park now, there is a consultation process going on with the community that is asking people what they want to see for Moore Park. It is possible that the people will say that they do not want to see that gold members' car park there anymore—what they want to see is more green space and open space. If that is the case, the Ministers and the Government would need to consider that. Instead we are not giving the people the option to say how they want to see Moore Park reshaped and revitalised. Instead what we are doing here in a miscellaneous provisions bill is introducing something in a sneaky way—a five- to six-storey building in what is supposed to be parkland in much-needed open space in our inner city.

We know that the population around Green Square and Moore Park is going to increase significantly in coming years. We know that there are developments there that could house the Australian Rugby Union development centre and could house sports and science facilities. But is this car park the right spot in that area? We do not know because we have not had the opportunity to consider it and debate it, because this Government and this Minister for Sport are insisting that it be put through in a miscellaneous provisions bill, when what we should be doing is debating it in substantive legislation brought forward by the Minister.

It sounded as though the Minister was very much giving a second reading speech, making a justification for this building in the car park space. Unfortunately, it was not a second reading speech because we are not debating a substantive bill. We are debating the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill (No 2) 2015, which is supposed to be about inconsequential matters. This is not inconsequential. It is dodgy and sneaky of the Government to be acting in this way. It means that in future we are going to have huge problems around the review of statute law bills. It is going to make it harder for the House to function and to fix things that need to be fixed. This is an attempt by the Minister for Sport to remove community involvement from decisions about Moore Park; to undermine the commitments of the Minister for the Environment to protecting Moore Park; and to say to the community that is currently being asked what they want to happen to Moore Park, "We do not care what you say. We are going to shove this bill through, because that is how we do business."


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