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Local Scone kids on warpath with local council

9News.com.au logo 9News.com.au 9/11/2018 A Current Affair

The children of Scone are on the warpath, and they've got the local council in their sites.

With summer around the corner, the kids in the upper Hunter Valley town mostly congregate at the local pool for entertainment.

"Really, it's the only thing that kids can do," one local youngster said.

a group of people posing for a picture: Kids in Scone are protesting rule changes at their local pool. © Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd Kids in Scone are protesting rule changes at their local pool.

But after years of open access, the rules have changed.

The new conditions state that 10- to 15-year-olds must have a parent with them if they want to have a swim.

"It's not fair because last year when I was 11 I could go in, and now I'm 12 and more responsible, I can't," one local said.

The new rules stipulated that children aged 10 to 15 needed to be accompanied by a parent. © Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd The new rules stipulated that children aged 10 to 15 needed to be accompanied by a parent.

The new rules were put in place over a perceived threat the children may be assaulted by paedophiles.

Local Liz told A Current Affair the council said it was a recommendation by the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse.

"So I contacted the Attorney General's department, who put in writing for me that they made no such recommendation," she said.

a group of people holding a sign: The kids made a noise outside the council building. © Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd The kids made a noise outside the council building.

"I then rang Royal Life Saving Australia to see if they made the recommendation, and they said it was for 10 and under to be supervised."

Under the new rules, even grandparents weren't allowed to be the supervisor for their grandkids.

But the town's children took matters into their own hands, collecting 600 signatures in just three days on a petition to reverse the rules - one-tenth of Scone's population - and even protesting outside council.

a man wearing glasses: Mayor Wayne Bedggood stood by the council stance but said a review was coming. © Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd Mayor Wayne Bedggood stood by the council stance but said a review was coming.

"We certainly hear the calls of 'nanny state' and 'over-protective' but I suppose if you're going to be chastised for something, being chastised for being over-protective of our youth - I'm probably prepared to wear that personally, as are our councillors," Mayor Wayne Bedggood said.

However, councillor Sue Abbott said the new rules inhibited children's development and that the pool was a "safe public space".

And kid power has already had an impact, with the council deciding that those over 13 years old can enter the pool unescorted.

A petition has gathered 600 signatures in three days. © Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd A petition has gathered 600 signatures in three days.

Those under 13 may bring any adult, including a grandparent.

But the kids are pushing for more – and they might get it.

"I think there'll probably be a review, so it's a 'watch this space'," Cr Bedggood said.

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