Reports this week of another attempt by the SCG Trust to take over Moore Park would destroy precious parkland. It's now clear why the O'Farrell and Baird Governments wasted $38 million on a bridge over Anzac Parade - to enable the commercialisation of even more public land in Moore Park East and Moore Park West.
Moore Park is managed by the Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust, whose role is to protect and maintain public open space. In contrast, the Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust's role is to promote commercial sporting events. Our public land should not be controlled by those whose top priority is private, commercial gain.
This is precious green space, always open to the public and always free. It is used for exercise, recreation and relaxation for countless Sydneysiders.
There is a long history of the SCG Trust attempting to seize more public land. In 2006 a section of Moore Park was rezoned by the Government after the SCG Trust decided it wanted to use the public land for commercial purposes.
Just five years ago a leaked letter to the Premier from the Chair of the Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust revealed that the Government was considering transferring additional control of Moore Park to the SCG. Only a strong community campaign stopped Moore Park being used as a carp park and promoted light rail as an alternative way for match-day crowds to get to the stadia.
Construction of the new light rail line that will connect the sports stadia with Central Station and the CBD will commence later this year. Destroying a park to make way for a parking lot is not just short-sighted, it is insanity driven by greed.
As the number of people living in the inner-city skyrockets, we need public open space more than ever. By 2030 there will be 53,000 people living and 22,000 working in Green Square, right on the edge of Moore Park. These residents and workers, as well as the tens thousands of others in the area, have a right to use the parklands. It is public land that belongs to us all.
In 1811, Governor Macquarie set aside the land Centennial and Moore Park to accommodate the needs of a growing city. Two hundred years later, we are still growing, but our parkland is shrinking.
Sydney's public parks are owned by us all and should not be alienated by Premiers who are just short term custodians of the public realm.