By Miriam Webber
Randwick Council has pledged to support the campaign against rising fees for school hire of Centennial Parklands.
Councillors from all parties pledged unanimous support on Tuesday June 23 for a motion to lobby state ministers for a guarantee of affordable fees.
The motion was petitioned to Council by local action group Save the PSSA in Centennial Parklands. The group has been campaigning to stop fee rises for grounds hire by the Public School Sports Association (PSSA), the organising body of sports programs between local schools.
The campaign has been gaining momentum, with Randwick the second council to pledge its support after Waverley.
Randwick Greens councillor Lindsay Shurey presented the motion to council.
Clr Shurey told Council that Centennial Parklands were moving towards a financial model which is unacceptable.
“They’re making really silly decisions, financial decisions. The reason they’re making those decisions is the state government has cut their funding,” she said.
Ms Shurey said the motion, which commits the council to appeal to the NSW Education Minister and Environment Minister, was amended to include a plan to seek council representation on the Centennial Park Trust Board.
Labor Councillor Tony Bowen said there is a need for local representation on the trust because of financial decisions that are affecting the community poorly.
“I think the bottom line is, is this a park or is it a cash cow?” he said.
Kilty O’Brien represented Save the PSSA at the Council meeting. She said there was very passionate and sincere concern for the rising costs of sports grounds.
“Randwick Council don’t have jurisdiction over Centennial Parklands so unfortunately for us its not going to solve the problem right away, but what it does do is bring a lot of local attention to the issue.”
Clr Shurey said Council would help raise awareness of the fee hikes.
“The only way forward is to be as loud as they possibly can,” she said.