In Question Time today, Mark asked the Minister for Human Services, representing the Minister for Environment and Water, a question about the future of Belair National Park.
The Hon. M.C. PARNELL: In early 2018, the former Belair Golf Course and Country Club within Belair National Park ceased operation and management of the site returned to the Department for Environment and Water. The government then commenced an expression of interest process, looking for alternative uses for the state heritage-listed site. According to the expression of interest documentation, proposals need to be consistent with the status of the national park and should carefully consider community expectations for the site.
Of 13 proposals put forward, only two appear to now be under consideration. These are a small mountain bike hire and skills training business and a proposal from the Sturt Lions Football Club to take 10 hectares, or 25 acres, of the former golf course land to establish a new home ground and clubrooms, including seven soccer pitches. This latter proposal has attracted a lot of community concern around local impacts but also because of the opportunity forgone to reintegrate the former golf course back into the national park proper by revegetating the abandoned fairways and greens rather than bulldozing flat spaces for sportsgrounds, clubrooms and car parks.
Of the 173 online comments so far on the YourSAy website, the vast bulk are opposed to the soccer proposal. According to Adelaide Hills Council, around 87 per cent of the original native vegetation in the Mount Lofty Ranges has been cleared and only 13 per cent remains, with much of that in a degraded state. My question of the minister is: rather than only looking at commercial opportunities for the former golf course and country club, why won't the government put on the table the idea of returning all the land back to the national park proper by restoring and revegetating the area back to how it was in the 1930s before it was hived off as a fundraiser for the department?
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (Minister for Human Services): I thank the honourable member for his question and his interest in these things. We know that he is particularly vigilant when it comes to environmental matters and our national parks. His keen eye has observed and no doubt he has been contacted by constituents raising these issues. My understanding is that the process is underway and I am sure that the Minister for Environment and Water will take all of these issues into consideration. In terms of the detail of the honourable member's questions, I will take them on notice and bring back a response.