Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler—Leader of the House and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport) (09:36): Last Saturday night I had the pleasure of attending the Newtown Swans trivia night at the Marrickville golf and community club. In my time as the member for Grayndler I have known Marrickville golf club to host many community and charity events for the benefit of thousands in my electorate and the local community.
Marrickville golf club was built in the 1940s by volunteer and community labour and is the largest single green space in Marrickville and Dulwich Hill. Since its opening, this 3.7 kilometre, 18-hole golf course has served as a community space and facility open to all members of the public. The golf club is supported by 775 active members and its facilities are enjoyed by hundreds of people each and every week, including many of the budding golfers of tomorrow through the Jack Newton Junior Golf cadet program that links the golf club with many local primary schools. Additionally, the Marrickville golf and community club has been the primary choice of the New South Wales Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care as hosting venue for New South Wales Seniors Week events for the last three years. The club is also in the middle of extensive renovations and upgrades to modernise facilities for the needs of the local community.
A recent Marrickville Council commissioned ‘Recreation Needs Research Paper’ has suggested that the golf course is too big and is proposing that the golf course should be cut in half, to nine holes, with land to be used to develop ‘improved active transport and recreational access to the Cooks River corridor’. This is a nonsense proposal. The club president, Eddie Lakiss, has stated that, should the golf club be cut in half, then the entire facility and community clubhouse would be at risk of closing. Eddie says, ‘This club is not just a golf club, it is a community club and everyone is welcome whether they play golf or not.’
I reject these recommendations in the research paper which I assume are inspired by the Greens political party on Marrickville Council that seems to be opposed to active sport being conducted in the electorate. Marrickville golf club is a fantastic piece of local community infrastructure. It is an integral part of Marrickville’s history and future and the local community will fight these proposals. It is a shining example of the immense community spirit that can be fostered when you have a great public facility that works for the benefit of the entire community. I congratulate those people in the Marrickville golf and community club who are showing leadership on this issue and I will continue to argue their case as their representative in the national parliament.