Belair national park update

Please see the Minister's response to my question on the Belair National Park developments below.


July 23 2020 – Question Time 

Mr DULUK (Waite) (15:16): My question is to the Minister for Environment and Water. Can the minister update the house on the redevelopment of the Belair Country Club and Golf Course and provide a time for the release of the master plan for the site? With your leave, sir, and that of the house, I will further explain. 

Leave granted. 

Mr DULUK: It has now been over two years since the closure of the Belair Country Club and Golf Course. Since then, the Country Club has become a dilapidated shell, has attracted antisocial behaviour and the former Golf Course has been left unkept, especially during the bushfire season. 

The Hon. D.J. SPEIRS (Black—Minister for Environment and Water) (15:17): I thank the member for Waite for his question—a very valid question about an important asset under the care and control of my department within his electorate. We do know that the Belair National Park—in fact, the oldest national park in South Australia, proclaimed in 1891—is such an important recreational and environmental asset and destination within the Southern Hills location within metropolitan Adelaide. 

It is a site which has proven to have some challenges in recent years. The member for Waite is absolutely correct to highlight that in March 2018, right around the time of the change of government, the golf course and country club operator, unfortunately and sadly, went into receivership. As a consequence, the property, being the country club itself, became vacant and the golf course operators withdrew from managing the golf course. That has posed my department and the National Parks and Wildlife Service some challenges, particularly with the need to maintain that golf course. 

I think we have made every effort to maintain the golf course in a way that ensures there is an effective fire buffer. It does not need to have a cropped lawn through that area in order to be an effective fire buffer. What it does need to do is create a significant width of space between the trees which form part of Belair National Park and the housing around Glenalta and Hawthorndene, particularly along the Upper Sturt Road boundary of the national park. 

That is exactly what the golf course does do and will continue to do. I have made it a priority and a priority of the National Parks and Wildlife Service to ensure that that grass is cropped appropriately to maintain that important firebreak because we know that gives those residents confidence that their homes are that little bit safer during a fire season. 

Moving on from the fire risk, we are now moving towards a period of master planning the site. Master planning that site is important going forward. We undertook an expression of interest process to see if South Australian businesses were interested in the site in September 2018. That was a prolonged process and it resulted in a couple of businesses and community organisations coming forward. There's a mountain biking business operating from that site at the moment, or working through that, and should be operating shortly. Then there is also the Sturt Lions Football Club, which is also interested in operating from that site. 

That site is more than just those two opportunities. There is clearly significant potential going forward for the former Belair golf course. That building, built in the 1990s—the Belair country club—has plenty of potential and we really do hope a private sector organisation puts its hand up in the very near future to be part of it. 

We're forming a community reference group to work alongside my department to make sure that the Master Plan is informed and guided by the community. There will be a range of community leaders, including Kaurna representatives, representatives from local business, the local councils, young people involved in that Rotary Club and other active organisations. 

I look forward to catching up with the inaugural meeting of that reference group to start shaping that master plan in the first week of August. The member for Waite will be there. I continue to work alongside him and rely on his advocacy, ideas and support for sorting out this situation once and for all.