Good news Australia! There's still time to roll down the front lawns of Parliament House before the 2.6-metre tall fence is erected.
In December, Australian politicians voted to seal off the sloping grass roof of Parliament House with a 2.6-metre tall steel barrier. The move came after advice from security agencies suggesting the lawns left the building vulnerable to a terrorist attack.
The grass lawns were designed by architect Romaldo Giurgola to allow members of the public to walk over the heads of their elected representatives as a symbol of true democracy.
More than 300 people rolled down the lawns in protest on December 16, following reports suggesting the fence would be built during the summer parliamentary break.
But a spokesperson from the Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS) told BuzzFeed News the construction schedule for the security fences "has not been finalised" and that "speculation around January 2017 timing is incorrect".
Meaning, you've got at least another month of rolling fun before the fence goes up.
The DPS wouldn't confirm to BuzzFeed News the final date the public will have access to the lawns.
Despite reports that the upgrade will include 38 new CCTV cameras and additional bollards at the eastern and western entrances, the DPS says the public will continue to be able to access a "significant amount" of the grassed area at the front of the building.
“The ongoing commentary that people will be no longer able to roll down the grass ramps is therefore misleading," a DPS spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. "The public has not been able to walk up the grass ramps and right over the top of Parliament House for 11 years, since the existing fences were erected on security grounds in 2005.
"The public will continue to access the roof of this building in precisely the same way - passing through screening and going up to the roof internally via the elevators."
The security changes were voted through Parliament on the same day protesters scaled the front of the building and unfurled a banner that read “close the bloody camps now” and poured red dye into the fountain, and a day after protestors interrupted Question Time last month.
Justice Party senator Derryn Hinch likened the fence to "putting barbed wire around the Opera House".
Hinch and The Greens were the only parties to oppose the security upgrade.
Alice Workman is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Canberra.
Contact Alice Workman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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