The following is a transcript of an interview of Kevin Rudd with Laurel Edwards, Gary Clare & Mark Hine of 4KQ on Friday 3rd May.
KEVIN RUDD: Good morning, thanks for having me on the program.
LAUREL EDWARDS: What is this situation with the cricket oval at Balmoral High?
KEVIN RUDD: Balmoral High School has been told they are going to have three hectares of their school playing fields sold off by the Newman Government. The oval is also used by Bulimba, Morningside Primary Schools, as well as Norman Park and Cannon Hill Anglican College all of whom need extra space. And I think the community wants as much green space preserved as well.
HOST: But Mr Rudd, there is a lot of space there, we’re talking about a lot of fields, I drive past it quite often, and you know just a bit of it missing will probably not mean much.
KEVIN RUDD: Well, I think this is part of a much broader agenda because yesterday I discover the same plan is being rolled out for Whites Hill State College up at Camp Hill and Carina, and so what they’re doing there they’ve told them they are about to lose their nearly five hectares of their playing fields. This is a school with more than 700 kids in it. The truth is right now, in 2013, can you imagine any government going out there and buying new playing fields for schools? They won’t because it’s too expensive. These were decisions taken decades ago on behalf of local communities to support their schools and these green spaces are used by local community sporting organisations as well so they have a multiple use and I just think it’s absolute madness to do this and with not a word of consultation with the P and C’s of both the schools involved.
LAUREL EDWARDS: Now is it a done and dusted deal?
KEVIN RUDD: I think the community’s got to rise up with its voice. Remember we did that recently with the proposed closure by this Newman Liberal National Party Government of all those bus routes around Brisbane, the community rose up with a single voice they backed off and they hospital passed it to the Brisbane City Council. We have reports in the Courier Mail yesterday that without any consultation with the P&C at Coorparoo Secondary College, they unilaterally put out a story saying that they are going to merge that school with another state high school. So the kids there don’t know whether they can finish their high school at Coorparoo or where they’ve got to go, and then on top of that reports about the possible closure and sale of Holland Park State High School. My call on the Premier Campbell Newman and his government is to rule out the closure and sale of Holland Park and for goodness sake start consulting with P&C’s.
HOST: My problem is why take over the cricket oval? Hasn’t the Newman Government seen the state of Australian cricket? The last thing we need is getting rid of cricket ovals.
KEVIN RUDD: You know something, you have me one thousand per cent on that one as well. They’ll try to justify it on the basis of Peter Costello’s conducting the audit of the public finances of the Bligh Government, that’s about as independent as me asking Paul Keating to do an independent audit of Campbell Newman’s time as Brisbane City Council Lord Mayor.
LAUREL EDWARDS: It’s hard to believe that in this day and age with the Government spending so much money fighting child obesity that we’re actually removing areas of land where of course the most effective thing is exercise.
KEVIN RUDD: Well, for kids it’s really important to have open playing fields. But remember also, Brisbane is a rapidly growing city. If you went to any other growing city in the world and said by the way your green spaces toward the middle of town we’re about to flog off, they’d think you were stark raving mad because you need more green spaces in the middle of town with urban consolidation, not less.
LAUREL EDWARDS: Federal Member for Griffith, Kevin Rudd, thanks for chatting to us this morning.
KEVIN RUDD: Thanks for having me on the program.