The Opposition Alliance has launched a petition calling on the McGowan Labor Government to scrap proposed guidelines which could prevent new outdoor basketball hoops being built in public parks close to homes.
The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation guidelines would mean very few new outdoor basketball facilities would comply with noise regulations, particularly in city areas.
Shadow Health Minister Libby Mettam said the proposed guidelines were nonsensical and an absolute overreach by the McGowan Labor Government.
“At a time when every government is trying to encourage kids to get outside and be active, it is preposterous that the government is considering restrictions to such a popular outdoor sport,” Ms Mettam said.
“It’s bureaucracy gone mad. While the Minister says common sense will prevail, he can’t just sit on his hands and palm the issue off to local councils to sort out.
“If noise is an issue, surely there are other measures such as time restrictions that could be considered, or noise exemptions for these facilities.
“It is ludicrous that it will be left up to councils to interpret and respond to the guidelines.
“This is a government that has already targeted youth sports by cutting assistance available to families through the KidsSport program in 2017.”
Ms Mettam said while these regulations were only supposed to apply to new facilities, there was legitimate concern that councils could be forced to remove existing outdoor basketball hoops if they receive noise complaints, which several councils have already done.
Shadow Sport and Recreation Minister Peter Rundle said the Minister’s response in Question Time yesterday was to handball responsibility to Local Governments, rather than own up to bad policy decisions by a State Government Department.
“Outdoor basketball courts in our suburban parks give free and fun access to people of all abilities and have great health benefits for WA kids,” Mr Rundle said.
“These guidelines are just another blunder by the McGowan Labor Government rushing through changes without thinking about the consequences.
“I want to see more of our kids getting outside and being active, not less, but these noise reduction guidelines will rip the fun out of playing sport in our parks.
“This over-regulation by the McGowan Labor Government will have a direct impact on kids’ ability to play basketball for free, ultimately limiting the physical activity they can do in their local area.”
The Opposition Alliance is urging Western Australians that want to see these facilities continue to be built to sign the petition at https://www.change.org/stop-outdoor-basketball-ban.