|Some Centennial Park residents meeting with Heffron MP Ron Hoenig last night|
Last night I met with local Centennial Park residents at the edge of Moore Park who wanted to speak to an MP about their concerns with the activities of the Centennial & Moore Park Trust something I have been doing regularly.
Centennial Parklands was gifted to the people of NSW by Governor Macquarie in 1811 for the benefit of the people of Sydney and future generations. It is overseen by Centennial & Moore Park Trust.
Whilst a number of residents were present talking to their MP, a ‘uniformed agent’ of Liberal Environment Minister Rob Stokes disrupted the meeting and ordered residents and I off Centennial Park land. Residents had to move 40 metres to comply with the request, including an 87 year old man.
Centennial Park is the people’s Park – residents are entitled to speak to their MP about their concerns with the management of Centennial Park without being set upon by politically motivated uniformed agents of the Liberal Party, it was a blatant attempt to silence them.
Residents meeting with their Member of Parliament is the most fundamental principle of our Parliamentary democracy, holding this meeting on the people’s land their right.
Centennial Park is not the private domain of the Centennial & Moore Park Trust. It is the quintessential people’s Park and this attempt to stifle free democratic debate is nothing short of undemocratic.
The residents I was speaking with were actually explaining their concerns they have with the Park, including the $38 million wastage on the Albert Tibby Bridge, the commercialisation of the Park, their fear that parts of Moore Park would be handed over for a car park and the gouging of money out of school children for their use of the Park.
The concerns raised by residents are justified. When the Trust and the Minister have refused to provide me with a briefing about the activities of the Trust, someone has something to hide.
It is interesting that on the eve of an election that the Liberal Minister sends his guards out to try and silence me. It is also interesting that their action follows enquiries by the Wentworth Courier about criticism I have made of the Trust in Parliament.
It is no wonder that locals are suspicious of the activities of the Centennial & Moore Park Trust when the people’s representative is thrown out of the people’s Park.
The Liberals’ attempt to silence me won’t work. I will be back next week meeting residents again.