Apr 3, 2019

Constituency Statements – Globe Wilkins Preschool, Marrickville Golf Course – Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (10:31): I rise to raise two issues of great concern to my local community in the inner west of Sydney. One concerns Globe Wilkins, one of our nation’s finest preschools. Operated by the Inner West Council, it has received the Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority’s excellence rating—the highest rating you can get. Indeed, it is the only preschool in Sydney to have received this high rating more than once.

The preschool’s been based at Wilkins Public School for 20 years. It got moved as a result of its previous location being directly under the flight path of the third runway at Kingsford Smith Airport. So the federal government does have some responsibility, in my view, for the ongoing existence of this preschool. Indeed, the problem now arises that the state Liberal government have said that they will push ahead with a tender for the preschool, meaning that we might see a private operator operating a private preschool on public land and the closure of Globe Wilkins altogether. The next Labor government, I’m pleased to announce, will guarantee access to preschool for all three- and four-year-old Australian kids, and we’ll also invest a million dollars to help deliver new classrooms at Globe Wilkins Preschool in Marrickville.

The second issue concerns Marrickville Golf Course, a golf course operated by the Inner West Council. Known as Royal Marrickville in the inner west of Sydney, it’s a very small golf course but one that is the centre of community activity. It’s an 18-hole golf course with a clubhouse. It’s where people have birthdays, where people have activities, where people walk their dogs and where people engage in open space, which is so limited in the inner west of Sydney.

It’s a community institution that’s operated since the 1940s, but the Greens political party on Marrickville council want to chop it down to nine holes; they think that’s enough. They regard golf as an elite sport. What they should do is get out of their ivory tower, go down there and talk to the working-class men and women who have been playing golf for decades at that golf course. It is affordable, it is small—it’s only par 62—and it is vital open space on the banks of the Cooks River in my electorate. The fact is that cutting the golf course in half would destroy this community facility that people have enjoyed for generations. We will fight, and this Sunday there’s a rally at one o’clock to save Marrickville Golf Course. I’ll be there, and I call upon the community to join me in defending this facility.