Adelaide City Skate Park

Adjourned debated on motion of Hon. T.A. Franks:

That this council—

1. Notes that skate parks across the world provide for considerable positive youth development opportunities;

2. Notes that the Adelaide City Skate Park has been an outstanding social and recreational space for South Australia since June 2000, and in this time it has also provided a career launch pad for professional skaters and riders;

3. Expresses concern that, as a result of announcements to build new medical facilities on the site of the Adelaide City Skate Park, the state government has terminated its lease with the Adelaide City Council, effective June 2014, yet did not make a corresponding financial commitment for a replacement central city skate space; and

4. Calls upon the state government to urgently commit to funding a permanent central city skate space in the upcoming budget.

(Continued from 13 May 2015.)

The PRESIDENT: The Hon. Mr Kandelaars. Try not to be controversial on this motion, Mr Kandelaars.

The Hon. G.A. KANDELAARS ( 17:54 :24 ): Thank you, Mr President. I rise to speak on behalf of the government in relation to this motion. The state government recognises the contribution of skate parks in providing positive youth development and youth activity opportunities. This motion, however, is opposed because its central purpose is again calling for a premature commitment.

The state government, through the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure, has continually been working constructively with skate park users and the Adelaide City Council to achieve both a short-term and long-term solution. As stated previously—and now must be repeated—the cooperation between the state government and the Adelaide City Council in finding an appropriate solution began prior to this motion being moved by the Hon. Tammy Franks. Such cooperation commitment to finding an appropriate solution continues despite this motion.

To ensure a skate park that not only meets the needs and interests of skaters but is also an effective use of public funds requires more than simply a commitment to fund. It is also proper and necessary to consider and balance other public interests that may be impacted upon a skate park, both in the short and long-term.

Following continued cooperation and commitment, the state government through the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure earlier this month received from the Adelaide City Council a design contract that seeks to ensure successful delivery of a temporary skate park. The Adelaide City Council has proposed a design concept which it says will allow parts of any such temporary skate park to be reused in other parts of the city once a permanent location is identified.

I understand the Adelaide City Council proposal follows significant consultation with patrons who provided feedback on the amenity, design and location of a future skate park. The Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure is now considering the Adelaide City Council's recent proposal and will advise the Minister for Planning in due course on any next steps to ensure that the best?possible outcome—both in the short and long-term—is achieved for the skating community.

I understand that the state government through the department will work with the Adelaide City Council towards an outcome as soon as possible. When the plans for the new skate park have been finalised, the government will work with council to consider funding arrangements. For these reasons, the government opposes the motion.

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT ( 17:57 :52 ): Dignity for Disability certainly welcomes this motion which acknowledges the importance of skate parks across the world as part, in particular, of positive youth development and the importance of the Adelaide City Skate Park on North Terrace, which is just down the road from this very parliament. The failure of this state government to find an alternative location for a skate park thus far within the city is very disturbing. I am pleased to hear from the Hon. Mr Kandelaars that there may be some developments in that space, but I will look forward to seeing them—

The Hon. T.A. Franks interjecting:

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: —and not rubber stamp them. Indeed, as the Hon. Ms Franks has pointed out, it sounds like it should be the Adelaide City Council that we thank for that, not the state government. In any event, we will wait and see what happens.

In the meantime, the skate park—whilst not something that I am personally a regular user of despite significant pressure from arts writer, Dane Howard, on Twitter to crack out my helmet—quite frankly, there is not enough foam in the world to make me feel confident that my fall would be caught, so that has not as yet happened. But despite significant pressure, I am not myself a user of the skate park. However, I do not need to be, to know that it is important. It has been heavily patronised and provides a healthy and free activity for people from all walks of life who have used it for skateboarding and BMX riding for many years.

As a young person myself (although perhaps not so young anymore, as I was reminded just a few moments ago in the contribution by the Hon. Ms Lee that Guy Sebastian's performance on Australian Idol was in 2003 and I have to say my life flashed before my eyes as it certainly does not seem that long ago) I certainly am mindful of the challenges that my generation and generations after it face in relation to health, wellbeing, exercise, weight management and social activity. At a time when access to screens is more prevalent than ever, we must support activities that keep young people moving, active and outside. I am particularly mindful of that as I read these speech notes off the screen of my tablet.

By not prioritising a new home for the City Skate Park, I feel very disappointed in particular for young South Australians. It is clear this government does not prioritise our health and wellbeing as young people and future leaders. With those brief words we are happy to keep the pressure on this government to work constructively to find an alternative home for the City Skate Park and we welcome the motion. We thank the Hon. Ms Franks for putting it forward and we commend it to the chamber.

The Hon. T.J. STEPHENS ( 18:00 :56 ): I rise on behalf of the Liberal Party to support the motion of the Hon. Tammy Franks. We have been supportive in the past and I have spoken on this particular issue in the past. I commend the motion to the house. It is an important motion, and the member for Adelaide, Rachel Sanderson, also has been doing quite a bit of agitating on this particular issue. She has had a very keen interest and has really pushed us in the Liberal Party to make sure that we are very supportive. I notice that the member for Adelaide has spoken at a rally at the Skate Park prior to the 2014 election to express her support and to commit to lobbying her colleagues to ensure funding for a new city skate park.

We believe it is shameful that Labor would give away the Skate Park land before finding a safe and permanent site for a new skate park. The member for Adelaide has also met with members of the Skate Park lobby group multiple times to discuss alternative sites, none of which have the same accessibility, particularly to trains, trams and buses, or the safety provided by the high pedestrian traffic and highly visible North Terrace site. Due to the closure of the Skate Park without an alternative site, many Skate Park users are skating along North Terrace and Victoria Square, which leads to safety issues for the greater public.

The Liberal Party notes the importance of recreational facilities such as skate parks, particularly for young people in our city centre. This free facility is one of the only options available to young people that keeps them away from venues that sell alcohol, and this is a point that the member for Adelaide has reiterated to me many times.

Over time the city has had multiple recreational activities available for young people. These include Downtown, Timezone, Academy Cinema centre, Regent Cinema, Dazzleland, and the Hindley Street complex. These activities are no longer available, which makes the retaining of a safe and accessible skate park even more significant. The member for Adelaide has hammered these points home to us in our party time and time again and fully supports this motion.

This government is committed to a vibrant city. They should put their money where their mouth is and commit the funds required to build a skate park. I am pleased that the member for Adelaide, Rachel Sanderson, has pointed this out to me many times and will continue to fight, along with the Hon. Tammy Franks from the Greens, who, again, we commend for putting up this motion. We are pleased to join the Hon. Tammy Franks in what is the good fight.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS ( 18:03 :48 ): I rise to thank those speakers who made a contribution to this debate: the Hon. Gerry Kandelaars, the Hon. Terry Stephens, and the Hon. Kelly Vincent. I also note that the Hon. Dennis Hood sent an email of support for this motion and, in particular, he noted, in response to my email alerting all of my parliamentary colleagues both in this council and in the other place that I was bringing this matter to a vote, that it was the almost exact same motion as I put a year ago tomorrow in this place. I also note that the government speech was almost word for word the exact same government response. I wonder if a new speech was sought or whether they simply dragged out last year's Hansard and read from that.

In that email I asked government members to define the word 'premature' for the edification of this council, given that a year ago tomorrow the government said it was too premature to make a funding announcement. It was not too premature during the March 2014 state election for the potential Labor member for Adelaide—who was then the Labor candidate for Adelaide, David O'Loughlin—to say that only Labor had money for a relocated skate park. I note that he tweeted that back in March 2014; but he was unsuccessful in his bid to be the member for Adelaide.

I commend the work of the current member for Adelaide, and believe that should the Liberal Party have taken government in 2014 we probably would not be having this debate here and now, because the skate park would have been elevated as a priority and those election commitments kept.

The Hon. T.T. Ngo interjecting:


The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: I note that this is an issue where the Premier announced the development of the Biomedical Precinct back in 2013, some three prime ministers ago now. He promised that the skate park would be relocated and that the state government would step up and make that happen. This is the second year in a row I have put this motion and it is the second year in a row that the Labor Party has given users of the skate park a lacklustre response, a response that shows that Jay does not get it when it comes to youth culture and skating culture in this state. Jay does not get that a vibrant city does not just include wine bars, it also includes skate parks.

I have long said that when you do not have a skate park in the city your city becomes the skate park. Have a look at the YouTube footage of the Nitro Circus performer breaking into the construction site we now see over the top of the old Adelaide City Skate Park and using a scooter to jump those construction fences and scoot onto North Terrace. That would not be happening if we had actually relocated the skate park in a timely manner.

I think the Labor Party's version of the word premature is an oxymoron, akin to something in 1984 where it means exactly the opposite of what they claim it to mean. It is overdue, well overdue, that we see an announcement from this government on the skate park, and it is time that the Minister for Planning stopped talking about skaters being able to use Victoria Square. That was clearly an inappropriate response.

Stop prioritising wine bars over skaters in this state. It has been more than two years. You have had enough time, so get your skates on tomorrow, I say to the Premier, and start to actually value the skating community of this state. Then you will truly be able to lay claim to creating a creative and carbon-neutral, vibrant city.

Motion carried.

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