Towards the end of last year, I was outside Springwood Public School talking to mums and dads as they dropped their kids off, discussing how much better off their school will be under a federal Labor government if we win the next election, with our $14 million of extra funding for my local schools, when one of the mums asked me about something else that is equally important to her. You see, Jane's four kids have varying abilities, and she told me how her family, and other families like hers, are desperate for a playground that's built to cater for all those abilities—one they don't have to travel a long distance to.
The vision that Jane and I share is for a playground whose concept and design is created by working closely with those who'll use it most. It's for locals, so it needs to be somewhere that attracts less of the tourist traffic; a place they can spend not just an hour but a whole morning, even a day; a place that is fully inclusive; a safe space where every child, no matter what their ability, can play. They need to be able to feel the joy of swinging high or the challenge of balancing or the thrill of spinning round and round—so a place that suits their physical ability and their intellectual or emotional capacities.
Building playgrounds in the Blue Mountains, which doesn't have a lot of flat land and has very little vacant land, does pose a challenge. Blue Mountains councillors have a commitment to increasing inclusion and have been upgrading playgrounds, both equipment and access, and Rotary is in there helping too. But I won't stop until we get the playground the Blue Mountains deserves, and I know the community will be with me on this.