I speak briefly in debate on the Parramatta Park Trust Amendment (Western Sydney Stadium) Bill 2017 which seeks to enable land to be swapped between the Parramatta Park Trust and Venues NSW associated with the construction of the new Western Sydney Stadium. The bill also facilitates leasing of trust lands to build a replacement swimming pool at Parramatta Park. While Parramatta Park lies well beyond the boundaries of my inner-west electorate of Summer Hill, I am concerned that the precedents established in the bill have wider ramifications for heritage parks across our State. I am concerned also that this bill represents yet another move by the Government to privatise public land and to weaken critical heritage protections for which many generations have fought and which are important to our history and heritage. I have spoken often in this place about the importance of protecting our open spaces and our wild spaces. Our cities and suburbs are becoming increasingly dense so it is important to protect that open space and create more open space wherever we can.
That is particularly true in Parramatta, which is one of the fastest-growing communities in New South Wales. The City of Parramatta forecasts that the local population will grow by more than 61 per cent by 2036. That will put increasing pressure on existing community infrastructure, including schools, hospitals, facilities and local parks.
The Opposition fully supports the construction of a new pool, given that this Government ripped up the former council-run Parramatta War Memorial Pool. As well as deeply inconveniencing local residents, the unnecessary closure of the pool has disrupted local swimming clubs and school swimming carnivals. It is critically important that a new pool be built, especially for those who do not have access to beaches or to recreational water amenities. They should also be able to enjoy quality public pools. I echo the strong sentiments of the shadow Minister for Environment and Heritage in the other place that access to quality open and green spaces is important to everyone. We must fight against any degradation or loss of public open space.
Of course, Parramatta Park is not any old park. The lands form one of the oldest parks in Australia, and it is one of the oldest parks in the world. The park contains evidence of more than 20,000 years of Indigenous occupation and contains some of Australia's most significant early convict heritage, including Old Government House and Domain, which was granted World Heritage listing in 2010. Nearby is the vitally significant Parramatta Female Factory, which was home to approximately 5,000 of the 9,000 women transported to our shores as convicts. It is the jewel in the North Parramatta Heritage Precinct, which is under threat from development as the site awaits assessment for World Heritage listing. These landmark heritage properties tell an important story of our earliest colonial history. They also serve as a clear reminder that the value of Sydney's heritage does not stop at the Anzac Bridge and that our shared history is not only the Botanical Gardens and the immediate surrounds of Sydney Harbour. It is much greater than that.
I am concerned that this bill amounts to little more than a crude land grab. As other members of the Opposition have said, it provides for 20 hectares of the land known as Mays Hill to be leased for an aquatic centre, a gymnasium, sports courts and other sporting facilities. That is far more than the two hectares that are required. The bill also opens the land up to 50-year leases for cafes and car parks. While many of these facilities may be welcome, I share my Opposition colleagues' concerns that this represents creeping commercialisation of open space. The Hon. Lynda Voltz in the other place clearly outlined the Opposition's objections by saying, "While we accept the need for a new pool to be constructed on Mays Hill as a consequence of the Government's diabolical mismanagement of the site, we categorically reject the Government's push to commercialise the whole 20 hectares." The Opposition has moved amendments dealing with that issue.
I acknowledge the Minister's commitment today that the Government will return the significant Wisteria Gardens to the site. The gardens were part of the park until 1858, but were transferred to the Department of Health. The Labor Opposition has been calling for Wisteria Gardens to be returned to the park for some time and welcomes that commitment. As I said, the loss of heritage and open space to commercialisation is not limited to Parramatta Park; our precious heritage is being eroded across the State. We have seen this Government seek to demolish the Sirius Building in the Rocks. It is a key example of brutalist architecture and an important symbol of social inclusion in our State. We have seen the selloff of the historic Sydney GPO without a word of criticism from the Premier. In my own electorate, we have seen the wanton destruction of irreplaceable federation homes in Haberfield—which was the world's first garden suburb—for WestConnex.
I take this opportunity once again to call on the Minister for Environment and Heritage to commit to State Heritage listing for the entire Haberfield postcode. That listing is supported by heritage experts, the local community, the Haberfield Association, the local council and residents. It is an extremely important issue and I again draw it to the attention of the House. We cannot allow our precious heritage to be destroyed by a thousand cuts. When it comes to our public parks, we cannot afford to lose more space for future generations to run in, to play in, and to enjoy. History has shown that once they are gone, they are gone forever.