Batting for Hanging Rock talks

Tania MAXWELL (Northern Victoria) (17:35): (1935)

My adjournment is to the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change (Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio MP). And the action I seek is for the minister to facilitate a meeting for the Hanging Rock Cricket Club with the three traditional owner groups of the land on which the Hanging Rock Cricket Club currently stands and the Hanging Rock ministerial advisory group.

The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the Hanging Rock master plan and Aboriginal cultural heritage and natural values as they apply to the plan and affect the cricket club. This needs to happen before the consultation period on the plan finishes.

On 5 April, 2022, I tabled a petition on behalf of the Hanging Rock Cricket Club who are pleading for local sport to stay within the Hanging Rock precinct. I am grateful to the minister for very promptly writing to me in response to this petition. I have enjoyed a very good working relationship with the minister to date, and I hope that this can continue in order to find a much-needed solution that will not break the hearts of Hanging Rock community sporting clubs.

We all recognise the iconic values of Hanging Rock, and I think we can be very genuine in saying there is a shared commitment to future planning that protects this special place while making sure it is available for the public to use and enjoy. Cricket has been played at Hanging Rock as far back as the tradesmen’s picnic of 1864. The Hanging Rock Cricket Club was formed in 1903, and this has always been the proud home of their club. This community is devastated by the prospects of being relocated. There is no doubt that Hanging Rock has significant historical associations. It is enjoyed by picnickers, for outdoor sports and has hosted some massive concerts.

The draft Hanging Rock master plan recommends the removal of the Hanging Rock Cricket Club from their current home. The cricket club cannot understand how horseracing and concerts, which can attract thousands of people, will not negatively impact the site’s Aboriginal cultural heritage and natural values—yet community cricket will.

Just recently the Minister for Regional Development (Hon. Mary-Anne Thomas MP) stated in Parliament regarding the government’s funding towards a sports precinct in Gisborne that: ‘Sport plays such a powerful role in the everyday life of our communities, and when sports clubs tell us they lack the facilities they need to play the sports they love it means that the effects are felt by everyone.’

Only local groups are being relocated under this draft master plan, and while I respect and acknowledge the assurances from the minister that this plan is still in draft and final decisions are yet to be made, the conversation seems to all focus on relocation, and I can understand how the sporting clubs involved feel that the writing is on the wall.

The sporting and environmental and cultural heritages can coexist in a supportive and respectful way in the same way they can for major events and tourism. I implore the minister to help ensure this community can retain its beloved local sport at Hanging Rock, and I look forward to a favourable reply which supports the club.