Western Sydney Parklands
Mr LYNCH: My question without notice is to the Minister for Urban Affairs and Planning. How is the Government protecting and enhancing parklands and open space for the people of western Sydney?
Dr REFSHAUGE: I am delighted to inform the House of a major environmental initiative, one which demonstrates this Government's commitment to preserving and enhancing the landscape and biodiversity of western Sydney. I am particularly delighted to speak to this matter as this is Western Sydney Environment Week. Nearly 5,500 hectares of regional open space will be secured for this and coming generations through a new regional environmental plan. Sydney regional environmental plan No. 31 comes into effect this week. The plan means that all parklands are being brought together under the one planning instrument, making sure they are protected and cared for as a whole. It also explicitly sets out that recreation and conservation are the primary considerations when making any decisions about the parklands.
The plan also means that any future proposals for roads and utility services in the parklands must respect these primary values. This new plan covers a massive area, 25 times the size of Centennial Park. It makes a vital contribution to the wellbeing of western Sydney. The plan means that the people of western Sydney will have access to large tracts of open space, both for active recreational use and for quiet enjoyment. The plan also ensures the conservation of the rich biodiversity of the area. The area covered by the new plan, which is known as Western Sydney Regional Parklands, stretches for 26 kilometres. The parklands begin north of Blacktown and extend to the south of Liverpool.
The parklands include the creeklands along Eastern Creek and the hills and ridges which form the backdrop to Sydney's western edge in Fairfield and Liverpool. The parklands have spectacular views across the Cumberland Plain to both the city and the Blue Mountains. They include areas of rare and endangered plant communities, as well as other areas of bushland which will be accessible for picnicking and walking. The parklands are now home to major sporting and recreational facilities which can be used by people from across the State, and indeed around the globe. They include the Olympic Equestrian Centre, the Olympic shooting facilities, the Olympic softball facilities, Fairfield City Farm, Nurragingy Reserve and Eastern Creek Raceway.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! Far too many members are engaging in private discussions.
Dr REFSHAUGE: It is time to take stock. The new plan promotes a more consistent, holistic and strategic approach to the management of the parkland. Along with the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning, Blacktown, Fairfield and Liverpool councils each have a role in assessing and approving development in particular parts of the parklands. Local Aboriginal communities and the National Parks and Wildlife Service also have a role. Through the Government's enlightened action, the future of this outstanding area has been guaranteed.
Questions without notice concluded.