Friends of Marino Conservation Park

01 June 2017

Mr SPEIRS (Bright) (15:18): It is my pleasure to tell the house about the great work of the Friends of Marino Conservation Park, one of the most active environmental groups in my electorate.

The Friends of Marino Conservation Park are an energetic and committed group of local volunteers who care for this park, which is Adelaide's best quality remaining example of remnant coastal heath vegetation. The park was declared a conservation park in 1989 and has become a unique place of tranquillity within metropolitan suburbia. From its elevated position, visitors to the park can enjoy impressive views, both north and south, along Adelaide's coastline.

On 11 May 2017, I attended the 25th annual general meeting of the Friends of Marino Conservation Park. It was good to catch up with the group, with many familiar faces among the gathered. The guest speaker at the AGM was the director of the Wilderness Society, Peter Owen. The AGM was an opportunity to hear about the group's work over the past year, including the successful application for an environmental grant through the City of Marion to solarise a strip along the southern edge of an old landfill site that is within the park.

Unfortunately, the park had a dump located within its boundaries prior to it becoming a protected site, and this landfill continues to cause problems today, with extra weeds growing around it and over it.

It is worth noting that I have written to the environment minister seeking the department's help with the restoration of this site, and I hope that help is forthcoming.

At the AGM we received an update on the conservation park's botanical trail. The botanical trail has been a focus of the friends group for the last 12 months and, to date, work has been undertaken on trail construction removing weeds from along the edges to allow regeneration and, where appropriate, to plant up areas with local species. So far, around 50 ID signs have been installed along the trail, and these will be added to over time. There is more work to be done on the botanical trail, and this will continue in the coming year.

I would like to thank Friends of Marino Conservation Park office-bearers and committee members for their ongoing passion and commitment to the park's environment. That includes the group's president, Alan Wilson; vice president, Gary Bowen; secretary, Bev Bowen; treasurer, Nancy Higgins; and committee members, Alan Brokenshire, Geoff Thompson, Lynda Yates, Barbara Randell, Rob George and Georgia Saxty. All these office-holders were re-elected at the AGM. It is also important to thank Chris Waugh for her contribution to grant applications which are, of course, a vital part of furthering the work of any volunteer organisation.

The friends group is ably supported by Jodi Woof, the environment department's volunteer support officer who works alongside the group, and also Jae Ellis, the ranger who is responsible for the park. I would like to congratulate long-serving volunteer, Dr Barbara Randell, on her appointment as the friends group patron. Barbara's passion and long-term commitment to Marino Conservation Park makes her an ideal person to fulfil this role. It is also important to pay tribute to renowned botanist, Enid Roberts on the group's original patron who sadly passed away on 10 July 2016. At the AGM, the friends discussed how Enid's work and contribution could be recognised locally.

It is worth mentioning that Marino Conservation Park will become a key component of Glenthorne national park the Liberal Party's vision to create a 1,500 hectare national park in the heart of Adelaide's southern suburbs. Linking the hills with the sea, Glenthorne national park will preserve and revitalise incredibly important open space from Happy Valley Reservoir to the coast at Hallett Cove and Marino. It is intended that the park will incorporate existing protected areas in O'Halloran Hill Recreation Park, Hallett Cove Conservation Park and Marino Conservation Park saving the 208-hectare Glenthorne Farm, which is all too often under the threat from urban sprawl, and also include the environmentally significant (but heavily degraded) Field River Valley behind Trott Park, Sheidow Park and Hallett Cove.

Marino Conservation Park's status as the most pristine remnant coastal heath in Adelaide makes it a critically important site within the proposed National Park, and I am committed to ensuring that under the creation of the national park, Marino Conservation Park, and the friends who support it so passionately and so ably, get the attention and resources that they deserve to further enhance their work. This is an exciting vision for our city and a flagship policy for our state's environment, and I look forward to seeing it implemented in the event of a Liberal win at the 2018 state election. I commend the work of the Friends of Marino Conservation Park to the house.