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Monday, 15 June 2009
Page: 5979

Mr ZAPPIA (9:25 PM) —I begin by commending the member for Kingston for bringing this matter to the attention of the House. I certainly will not use up the few minutes that I have responding to everything that was said by members opposite, but I noticed the member for Dunkley talked about the record of this government when it comes urban planning and I think it is like chalk and cheese when you compare it with the previous government. I want to specifically respond to something the member for Mayo said when he made some references to the state planning minister in South Australia, the Hon. Paul Holloway. Paul Holloway is in fact a very highly regarded and very competent planning minister and one who is held in the utmost respect by most of the developers and the people involved in planning in South Australia.

I should also say that when it comes to the Hills Face area of South Australia, which is a very unique area and one that is of concern to a lot of South Australians, it was in fact Jay Wetherill, the planning minister prior to Paul Holloway, who implemented a freeze on planning and development in the Hills Face zone until a comprehensive community plan was developed for all of the Hills Face area. So, again, when it came to protecting our very valuable Hills Face area, it took a Labor government in South Australia to do that.

I would like to make a number of observations with respect to this resolution. The first is that good planning is often taken for granted and sufficient recognition is not given to the importance that it plays in the lives of people. Planning can have a very profound effect on the quality of the lives of people who live in any community, because that is where they spend their lives, it is where they interact with others and it is where their children attend school, sport and other activities. As a consequence, a person’s life is very much influenced by the people they associate with. Local communities effectively become an extension of one’s own home. You can often become very attached to your local community, as we see frequently from the fact that people will live in the same area for pretty much all of their lives. And if you look at the statistics you will see that of those people who do move the majority do not move very far away from the original suburban area or community they grew up in. So it is a fact of life that the local community and the planning that goes into it can truly affect the quality of a person’s life and the opportunities that are presented to them. Sometimes, regrettably, as a result of poor planning rather than a lack of opportunities, a person will find themselves in a situation where they are confronted by some very negative forces. Time will not permit me to elaborate on that but perhaps on another occasion I will.

So good local area planning does make a drastic difference to the individual lives of people, to the environment, which we have heard other speakers talk about, and to the economic opportunities presented both to the individual and to the community as a whole. Critically, the areas of health and education outcomes can very much become reliant on good planning and good development. In recent times the term ‘sustainable communities’ has often been used; it is an expression you hear quite frequently when you talk to planners. Conversely, governments around the world are now expending large sums of money rectifying and rebuilding poorly planned communities of earlier years. We have some good examples of that in South Australia, where the state government today is having to expend hundred of millions of dollars in order to rectify and rebuild communities that were built some 50 years ago and not properly planned out.

One of the sad things that I hear too often is that there ought to be more land released for the purpose of building new homes. It is a view promoted by a number of housing developers. The problem with that is that housing developers may be very good at building houses but they are not necessarily so good at building communities, and there is a difference. Having a nice house without access to schools, shops, hospitals, sports clubs, parks, community hubs, universities, workplaces and so on can very much add to the cost of living and can lead to a much poorer quality of life for those people who live there. It is true that not all services can ever be available in every community. But that is why transport systems have to be designed from the very outset. However, I accept that long-term area planning can never be perfect. (Time expired)