For the first time, NSW will have a Minister for Public Spaces who will identify and protect publicly owned land for use as parks or public spaces, under a Liberals & Nationals Government.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the NSW Government will also provide $150 million for new and improved parklands across urban areas – an investment made possible due to the strong economic management of the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government.
The NSW Liberals & Nationals will also provide additional protections for Crown Land held for recreational use.
“Access to green and open space is crucial for communities to thrive,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“We have already worked hard to put local character at the heart of everything we do.
“Today’s announcement takes this to the next level with a dedicated champion for public spaces to be placed at the heart of Government.
“Quality open space is so important to local communities, as a place to relax, kick a football or have a picnic or a barbecue,” Ms Berejiklian said.
The Minister for Public Spaces would have responsibility for enhancing and expanding the State’s parks and gardens and open spaces, ensuring that there is sufficient open space across NSW, and that public spaces are made welcoming and attractive.
The new Minister for Public Spaces will also have the first right to identify and protect existing Government-owned land that should be preserved as parkland or public space.
One example of land identified for protection is the Sydney Water pumping station at West Ryde. Under the Liberals & Nationals, land not required for Sydney Water operations will be preserved for community use, such as parks, commuter car parking, and community facilities.
Member for Ryde Victor Dominello said: “This is great news for families across NSW.
“Open space strengthens communities, and promotes healthy living and participation in cultural and creative activities.”
“The Government has demonstrated right here in Ryde that you can cater for increased growth and deliver necessary community open space. As part of the Meadowbank Education Precinct, the Meadowbank Public School site will become open space, and Marsden High School will be transformed into a dedicated community sports facility.”
The $150 million in funding will create a network of connected parks and open space, and improve the quality of existing parks.
As part of this package, $50 million will be used to turn existing Government-owned land into new and upgraded parks at Penrith, Ermington, Appin, Leppington, Frenchs Forest, Carramar, Beaumont Hills and Hurstville.
A further $100 million is available to secure new parks to be developed across Sydney. This funding will be used to purchase open space in strategic locations, to improve community access to green space.
Legislation will be further strengthened to ensure Crown Land reserved for recreational purposes cannot be sold, leased or change purpose without approval by the Minister that any change is in the public interest. This is on top of changes introduced last year that have delivered the community more power than ever before over the use of Crown land held for public recreation.
Today’s announcement takes the funding of the NSW Government’s existing Open Spaces and Greener Sydney package to $340 million, which already delivered more new and upgraded playgrounds, local sporting facility upgrades and more access to school grounds for community use.