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Members of local government, education institutions, not–for–profit organisations and state government agencies have been brought together to provide important guidance and first steps in developing a draft guideline for playspaces across NSW.

 

Announced by Minister for Planning and Housing, Anthony Roberts last month, playgrounds and playspaces across NSW will need to meet a new standard of design by catering for all people, including disabled and able–bodied children and their carers.

 

Newly appointed Commissioner of Open Space and Parklands, Fiona Morrison, welcomed the Advocacy Group and said the function of the group is to provide expert advice in developing draft guidelines that will change the way we think about the design and management of playspaces.

 

“The development of draft guidelines for playspaces will position NSW as the leading state in Australia for playspaces where any child, parent or carer can play easily and effortlessly,” Ms Morrison said.

 

“I am thrilled to have such a group of experts to help lead the charge and advocate for change of our playspaces.

 

As part of the new standards, the NSW government will inject funding for councils to retro–fit all existing parks within five years.

 

The NSW Playspace Guidelines Advocacy Group include:

  • Bec Ho, Executive Officer — Touched by Olivia Foundation
  • Matthew O’Connor, Manager Recreation Planning and Design — Blacktown Council
  • Lucilla Marshall, Group Manager Community Place Strategy and Growth — Port Macquarie–Hastings Council
  • Joshua French, Director Parkland Development and Strategy — Parramatta Park and Western Sydney Parklands Trust
  • Chris Mclean, Senior Policy Officer Ageing and Disability — Local Government NSW
  • Dr Jane Bringolf, Founding Director — Centre for Universal Design
  • Dr Phillippa Carnemolla, Research Fellow, Faculty Design, Architecture and Building — University of Technology, Sydney
  • Paul Nunnari, Manager Access and Inclusion — Department of Premier and Cabinet
  • Rachael McWilliam, Project Manager Recreational Project Delivery and Design — Central Coast Council.

The formation of the Advocacy Group is the first step in developing draft state–wide guidelines for inclusive playspaces. An Advisory group comprising local government, landscape architects, designers, suppliers and professional bodies will also be formed in early 2018 to help with the engagement of key industry stakeholders and community groups to assist with the drafting process.

 

The Department will undertake preliminary targeted consultation with the community before finalising its guidelines and policies for universally designed playspaces next year.

 

“It is my hope that any person of any age can go to a playspace near their home without the difficulty of accessibility and all children can play together, irrespective of their level of ability,” Ms Morrison added.

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