Mr DULUK (Waite) (11:28):
I also rise to speak to this motion, and I thank the deputy leader for bringing it before the house. I will talk a bit about the environment and the importance of the environment and open space to my community, which is home to so many wonderful reserves and places such as the Belair National Park. I will also talk a little bit about the new government's agenda and the new minister's agenda in this space. I must commend him for his zeal for protecting the environment and ensuring that South Australia has the best environmental policies going forward.
In the lead-up to the 2018 state election, the Liberal Party took a comprehensive suite of practical environmental policies to the people of South Australia. I think it is very important, as we continue through these debates over the coming years, that the hallmark of the Liberal government in this policy space, I hope, will be practical environmentalism. We took reform of natural resources management to the people of South Australia: coastal protection; more park rangers, which is really important in my electorate; and, of course, the establishment of the Glenthorne national park.
In watching the debate over previous years, I was reminded that the then Labor government was more about noise, platitudes and appealing to the PC brigade than actual practical environmental outcomes. As I said, we are going to be very much dedicated to practical environmental outcomes. The one that sticks out to me the most is when former minister Hunter made all this noise about the River Murray and used foul language at a restaurant in Adelaide to get a headline.
That is what the former Labor government was about: it was about a headline on the River Murray, a headline on climate change or a headline on so many issues. Of course, the biggest hypocrisy of the then Labor government was in energy when they backed up South Australia's energy system with dirty diesel generators, the dirtiest of energy producers known to man. But this new government will not be focused on PR: it will be focused on practical environmental outcomes World Environment Day began in 1974 and is now celebrated in over 100 countries. The theme for World Environment Day 2018 is Beat Plastic Pollution. I think the deputy leader, in her contribution, had some very wise words about what we can do to tackle plastic pollution in our environment, especially our waterways.
The Department for Environment and Water has a three-year grant agreement with the Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society to stage the World Environment Fair and this year it was held last weekend. I know that the minister was at the Royal Showgrounds for the fair, spruiking the important work that it does. The first World Environment Fair was held in 2017 in Adelaide and held again, as I said, on 2 and 3 June. About 10,000 people attended the fair in 2017.
The World Environment Fair aims to promote lifelong positive engagement with our environment; celebrate our environment on local, national and global levels; promote consistent engagement with our local environment throughout the year; increase awareness and understanding on conservation issues, which is so important; provide accessible and effective actions for positive contributions to the environment; and highlight environmental initiatives in South Australia, including the activities of the department.
Something that I want to touch on at a local level is the establishment by this government of Glenthorne national park, which is so important, and also the investment in more park rangers. That is something that will really play out in my community, as I said, with Belair National Park, Wirraparinga and Warriparinga reserves, Brownhill Creek reserve, Sturt Gorge and many other fantastic reserves in my electorate.
If there was ever a group of people who provide solid, community-focused, practical environmental support and expertise to people of all ages it is our park rangers. The previous government's obliteration of the number of park rangers damaged our national parks—something the new government now needs to fix. The Weatherill government slashed the number of park rangers from over 300 in 2002 to only 93 in 2018, leaving our national and conservation parks open to a range of problems.
In a park of such importance as the Belair National Park, if it were not for the dedicated work of the Friends of Belair National Park—led so well by their president, Mark Pedlar—who on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays do working bees to eradicate feral pests and plant species from the park, work that in previous years would have been done by rangers, we do not know where we would be at the moment. I am very proud that this government will increase the number of rangers by 20 per cent across South Australia.
I am also pleased that this government will be responsible for establishing another national park in our southern suburbs. I can attest to the value of having open space in my community and I, like most South Australians, am extremely excited by the prospect of a new national park at Glenthorne. I must commend the minister, the member for Black, for his efforts in prosecuting this case. An amount of $10 million has been committed over four years to make the new Glenthorne national park, which will link a number of discrete but geographically linked portions of land in Adelaide's southern suburbs that have the potential to be converted into an environmental and recreational community asset.
It is good that the Labor Party has finally come to the table in supporting this program because I can remember when the member for Bright—now the member for Black—at the time proposed this and we heard very little from those opposite.
The Hon. D.J. Speirs: Silence.
Mr DULUK: It was a deathly silence and then we had a quasi-policy rollover and then a halfbaked, half-pregnant hopeless, as the minister would say, Glenthorne Farm plan. Finally, we have seen them capitulate and realise the benefit of supporting our policy idea. If only they had been so bipartisan earlier, we could be talking about different things and not about Labor's failures.
Another important reform will of course be the reform of natural resources management and the introduction of the landscape SA act. Natural resources management is being reformed to increase community ownership, decentralise decision-making and focus on practical programs to deliver tangible results for landholders and key land players. This follows significant centralisation over previous years, a lack of community focus and increased NRM levies under the previous Labor governments. The existing NRM boards will be replaced by eight landscape boards and Green Adelaide.
The new landscape boards will have seven members, with three of these members to be elected by the community. I think it is really important that community members have an opportunity to partake in grassroots action, direct and viable action, because it is people who live in communities and volunteer who know what is best for their communities. It is not bureaucracies in the CBD that know what is best for our communities. So, a $2 million grassroots grant program will be established to enable on-ground works in local communities.
One issue that is of big concern in my electorate at the moment is the ongoing viability and sustainability of the Belair golf course, which sits within Belair National Park. It is another issue that
highlights the inept attitude and the lack of proactive management by those opposite when they were in government. Despite signs of financial difficulties, surely apparent to the previous cabinet when the deputy leader was a member, no action was taken by the then Labor government to be proactive in the management of the Belair golf club site within Belair National Park.
After the private group running the course and function centre went into voluntary administration, there was no plan in place to keep the greens alive. Instead, as with many things in this area, the previous government has left the new government to fix it up; it was in the all-too-hard basket for that government. That is what we are doing now. Last week, I attended a round table of like-minded community groups who are keen to see the Belair golf club revitalised and that asset restored. It was a very informative session, coordinated by the department because we are committed to it.
There are so many things that are important to my community that we are getting on and fixing. I will touch on some others, including the Wirraparinga Trail Loop in Brownhill Creek and our $100,000 investment, over the next five years, in the nature trail, which will become the focus of Indigenous tourism, recreation, heritage and education.
In and around my electorate of Waite, the grey box grassy woodlands are a feature of the foothills, which provide a natural habitat for native animals and plants and which also need to be protected. Unfortunately, due to clearing, the woodlands are now endangered. I welcome the work of the City of Mitcham along with the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board and their efforts to protect those woodlands by removing weeds in the Mountbatten Reserve and Randell Park most recently.
Something the City of Mitcham is doing really well is water sensitive urban design. It is involved in an innovative technology program around this design in the City of Mitcham. The program is designed to manage stormwater through rain gardens, reserve soakage trenches and permeable paving. We will see this in areas such as my electorate, in Kingswood, and in the member for Elder's electorate, in Melrose Park. If we can get this right, in terms of sustainability, with water retention and urban design, I think we are going to go a long way to providing practical solutions for our community as we promote the importance of our natural environment.