22nd March 2016
The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS (15:32): I rise to support the motion on behalf of the Liberal Party, and I am delighted to do so. I have had a long association with not only the Friends of Para Wirra group—
The Hon. I.K. Hunter: Life membership I think.
The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS: No, not life membership—honorary membership I recently had bestowed on me, which I am not sure I deserved. I am pleased to say that there are a number of representatives of the Friends of Para Wirra group who are in the gallery, and that may be out of order, but I wanted to put that on the record because I am delighted that those people who have put so much work and effort into the Para Wirra park over a very long time are here to at least see this council abolish the current status, which will then allow for the conservation park status to be gazetted.
I should also put on the record my long association with the park. Like many people from the Adelaide Plains, and, I suppose, in my youth the days when Elizabeth and Salisbury were developing, the number of recreational facilities in that part of the world were pretty limited. The Para Wirra park had quite a deal of recreational facilities, and so it was a popular place for people to go for a range of events. My early recollections are of going up there for Sunday School picnics. I suppose it was at that stage that I first became intrigued with the neighbouring Humbug Scrub property.
Of course, some years ago I worked with the Friends of Para Wirra group in relation to the crown land at Humbug Scrub becoming part of Para Wirra. At that stage, there seemed to be no good reason why that should not happen, other than that there were some delays in that process.
We have had some delay in this process relating to where we have got to today, but I want to commend the minister for taking on board, I suppose, the questions and advocacy I have placed in this house and also the goodwill and great integrity of the people of the Friends of Para Wirra, who at no stage have done anything other than seek to get, I think, the classification that that park in its current state deserves. It is in that current state because these good people have worked tirelessly—I should not put it in the past tense—and they continue to work tirelessly to make that significant parcel of land as much an example of what that part of the northern Mount Lofty Ranges looked like before European settlement.
I know the Natural Resources Committee of the parliament visited the park two or three years ago and had a look at some of the terrific work that has been done not only in the restoration of native grasses and other flora and fauna, but also at the tireless work done to actually eradicate many of the pest plants that are throughout that area, or have been throughout that area, particularly in those areas that have been used at different times for farming or for domestic purposes.
The classification that will follow the passing of this motion will well fit the current nature of the park. That is very much due to the terrific work by the Friends of Para Wirra, and I know they give great credit also to the staff members of DEWNR. I suppose over many years the name of the department for which those national parks rangers work has changed, but I know the volunteers are very grateful for their consideration and work in relation to the park.
I reiterate my delight that we finally have got to this stage. It is probably a couple of years after most of us would have hoped it would happen, but it is a great thing and I am very happy to support the motion.