Local Government (Gawler Park Lands) Amendment Bill

Second Reading

Mr PEDERICK ( Hammond ) ( 15:52 ): I also rise to support the Local Government (Gawler Park Lands) Amendment Bill 2015. As the member for Goyder indicated, I do have family connections going a long, long way back in my family. In fact, my forebears, William and Mary Pederick, who came out in 1840, are both buried at Gawler River along with their son, Robert Adams, and his family. In closer terms, both sets of grandparents—the Dutton family, who were at Freeling and then in Gawler, and on my father's side, Len and Dorothy Pederick—were living for many decades in the Gawler region, whether directly in Gawler or in the Angle Vale area, as were their forebears.

Our family has a long connection with Gawler; it is a great town, and I would hate to see it spoilt in any way by having the wrong thing happen with the parklands. It certainly has its issues with the beautiful main street that turns into a car park with what I understand to be 27,000 vehicle movements a day. It is one of the best main streets in South Australia, I must say, but something needs to be done to address that.

It is a while since I was a young bloke, but Gawler is starting to become part of the urban sprawl, with little green space between the ever-expanding suburbs and Gawler, but not much at all, and even coming out Gawler, for instance around Evanston/Evanston Gardens, more and more land is being land being built on. So, I think it is highly important that we discuss this 134 acres of parklands and the intention of the bill to discharge a trust that was established way back in 1864 for the control of these parklands and for the land to be declared as community land under the Local Government Act 1999. The Town of Gawler has had some practical difficulties in managing the area, which has been developed for use as showgrounds, bowling greens, greyhound tracks, a swimming pool and a caravan park and, associated with all of this, facilities have been put in place, such as clubrooms, etc.

I concur with the member for Goyder that this is a hybrid bill and must be referred to a select committee. I certainly think that if it goes to a select committee the right notice should be put in the appropriate media so that people can have the right to comment on it. I would hate to see any issues with this 134 acres of parklands. As I indicated, the local mayor, Karen Redman, has identified issues relating to the trust and sought the support of government for the legislation. This legislation will dissolve or modify the trust, while ensuring the validity of current leases, and provide council with the power to continue to effectively manage the use of the parklands into the future.

In relation to attaching community land status to the site, this prevents the sale of any portion of the land. From what I understand, this can be revoked if the council goes through the required community consultation process and demonstrates support for any sales. If there is any support for a sale in the future, the council will have to seek out whether that is there. I would be surprised if that could happen.

Mr Griffiths: They've corrected it: it's irrevocable.

Mr PEDERICK: It's irrevocable, sorry; I have been corrected. It is completely irrevocable. I thought I had been led astray there for a moment. It cannot be sold, I am informed, so that makes it even better.

With land that has been held in trust for that amount of time (since 1864), we want to make sure that this is discharged in the appropriate manner. Now that I have been reliably informed that it cannot be sold at any cost, that makes me feel even better. This is in regard to the Town of Gawler taking control of the land and after the trust has been discharged, which will be the operation of this bill if it does become an act.

I have long family ties to Gawler. It has certainly grown from what was once a large country town servicing local farmers and one that had a lot of history in our rail system, as many of the original steam engines in South Australia were built in Gawler. As a bit of history, if you go to Arkaroola and travel a bit further on through to the next station, there are a couple of boilers that are exactly the same as the steam engines they used in the copper mines to extract copper.

Gawler certainly has a rich history and a very rich heritage, and there are many people in South Australia who would have, as I do, some lineage ties with Gawler and the area, and all those people would hate to see the wrong thing happen, especially in light of the 134 acres of parklands. Now that I am assured that the land cannot be sold at any cost, it makes me even happier to support the bill, and I commend its speedy passage through the house.