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Centennial Park trustees threaten resignation

Centennial Park trustees threaten resignation
June 2, 2010

NSW Government plans to move control of Sydney’s Moore Park from the Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust (CPMPT) to the Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust has led CPMPT trustees to threaten a mass resignation.

The CPMPT Trustees also fear that its budget would be slashed by more than 70% if the NSW Government goes ahead with plans to transfer administration of Moore Park, including its public golf course, tennis courts, sporting fields and parking areas, to the Stadium Trust.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Trustees say they have not been consulted and are concerned the budget to maintain Centennial Parklands - drawn mainly from events, parking, and recreational activities at Moore Park - could be decimated.

The Trustees, which include Chairman, John Walker; Deputy Chair, Yvette Pietsch; Justice Annabelle Bennett; Dr Margaret Varady; Anne Keating and Fran Meagher, are also worried the Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust (SCSGT) would turn Moore Park into a car park for sporting events.

In a letter to the NSW Premier, Kristina Keneally, Chairman Walker, said the reasons behind the proposal appeared spurious, writing “it is unthinkable that a government would consider handing over public parklands (which are) under the administration of a highly successful and voluntary public trust which acts in the public interest, to a body that has its primary obligations to its private members and affiliated organisations and not to the public.

“The trustees will have to consider their position and may have no alternative but to resign immediately.”

Members of the SCG Trust, which includes the broadcaster Alan Jones and the former NSW Premier Morris Iemma, said Moore Park would be enhanced if it took over management. The parking facilities and grounds would be improved and there would be more entrances and exits.

SCG Trust Chairman, Rodney Cavalier explained that “this has been on the agenda since 1999,” adding that “we have no plans and no intentions to alter its usage. We are confident that the parklands would be enhanced. The SCG has some of the finest gardens in Sydney.”

Sydney's lord mayor, Clover Moore, vehemently opposes any transfer stating in a mayoral minute that “I continue to oppose the ongoing alienation of public lands in Moore Park and Centennial Park to events, car parking and exclusive use for sport.

“Centennial Park and Moore Park are vital, green open spaces which provide passive and active recreation opportunities for residents in increasingly densely populated surrounding suburbs.”

Malcolm Turnbull, the Federal MP for Wentworth, whose constituency includes Centennial Park and Moore Park said the NSW government was dealing with the issue in an “underhanded way” adding “to take that (revenue) away and do it without any consultation with the parklands trust or any public consultation is really scandalous.”

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