I rise to introduce a Bill that can potentially make a significant difference to how South Australia is currently perceived both from outside the State and within.
For too long we have had a culture of settling for second best and when the Government had the opportunity to do something special (and something it believed in until it all got too hard) – it simply dropped the ball, and walked away.
By walking away from the Victoria Park master plan, Mike Rann and the Labor Government has shown it lacks the courage of its conviction and lacks what South Australians are crying out for and that is true leadership and vision from Mike Rann.
The Opposition accepts that the Rann Government showed some vision in the Victoria Park master plan and that is why we were flabbergasted when we gave the Government the opportunity to still push ahead with the plans and it chose to immediately dismiss the offer.
It dismissed the offer and instead chose to invest in a $20m demountable stand and some shade cloth.
The Clipsal 500 race is a premier motor race which warrants top class facilities and significant investment. What it delivers the State from a tourism and economic perspective is tremendous and it merits more than a demountable stand, it merits more than just second best.
The SAJC, is now unsure of its racing future at Victoria Park because of the Government’s failure to act and racing misses out on the very best facilities that it should have been delivered.
Local residents also deserve better and this Bill is about ensuring local residents will not have to endure an extra two months each year of disruption, traffic congestion and unsightly looks.
The Victoria Park master plan’s main objective was to improve the amenity, use and appeal of Victoria Park for community, cultural and major event activities. A demountable stand does nothing to help meet this objective.
It is with some sadness that we introduce the Adelaide Parklands (Facilitation of Development of Victoria Park) Amendment Bill.
The Opposition feels some pity and sadness for the Rann Government as we know it should have never got to this stage. We firmly believe that strong decision making and leadership should have prevailed instead of Mike Rann caving into the “enemy within.”
Premier Rann wanted this master plan to go ahead.
Treasurer Foley and a whole host of senior frontbenchers as well as vocal Government backbenchers like the Member for West Torrens wanted it to go ahead.
Regrettably the Member for Adelaide did not share their enthusiasm. The Member for Adelaide was given an extraordinary and unique exemption to say her Cabinet colleagues had got it all wrong and was allowed to publicly humiliate the Treasurer.
But this plan can still go ahead because the Opposition truly believes in the objectives of the master plan.
• The Opposition believes in returning significant amounts of land to open space (the master plan predicted some 56,000 square metres of land would be made available for use as open space).
• We support the planting of some 1,000 native trees.
• We believe in removing redundant buildings and other dilapidated structures.
• We believe in Victoria Park realising its potential as a special events and entertainment hub of which we can all be proud.
• We believe in a future for Victoria Park.
In 1837 Colonel Light declared the area now known as Victoria Park should be used for horse racing and public recreational activities. Our Bill supports Light’s vision by helping to give racing and other activities a future at this unique inner city venue.
The Adelaide Parklands (Facilitation of Development of Victoria Park) Amendment Bill is about securing a future for sporting, leisure, cultural and recreational activities.
The Bill provides for the approval of the lease for the development which was approved by the Development Assessment Commission in application number DA/500/2007.
Through the Bill, the authority to secure the development would rest with the State Treasurer.
The Bill provides for the Treasurer to secure access to the site either by negotiation for a lease with the Adelaide City Council or by notice in the Government Gazette.
This Bill provides for a 99 year lease and for the right of occupation as an exclusive right that prevails over all other interests.
Occupation rights to other entities such as the SAJC and South Australian Motor Sport Board can be granted by the Treasurer and reasonable steps would take place for negotiations with the Adelaide City Council for other events such as the rights of sporting clubs to use facilities.
Where the Government is not using any of the land for the purpose described, the surplus land would be returned to Parklands.
As this Bill only provides approval for the facilities described in DA/500/2007, additional buildings or any other variance would need to go before the Development Assessment Commission.
The Bill authorises the Treasurer to authorise persons to carry out work including access to the site for the building of facilities.
This Bill prevails should there be conflict between the Adelaide Parklands Management Strategy and the Bill.
Only a few days ago, the Motor Trade Association’s magazine arrived on my desk. The President’s Report was entitled ‘A Time for Action’ and focused on the Victoria Park Redevelopment. I’m certain the MTA President would not mind if I read out part of his report as it indicates the exact reasons why the Opposition introduces this legislation today.
“For the State Government to appear to walk away from the project which it had committed to and to not immediately proceed with legislation in State Parliament is puzzling – Especially given the State Opposition took a bold stand and promised to back legislation allowing the granting of the lease and as such allowing the project to proceed. The Government had a perfect opportunity to be bold and dynamic and has paused with the chequered flag in site.”
He goes on to say;
“The Opposition has indicated it is ready to go, our challenge to the Government is – rise to the challenge – do not settle for a temporary compromise. The Government will now spend $20 million to develop the world’s largest fully demountable building for the race and seat shading. This is not the result we want and need. The Treasurer also said legislation cannot force co-operation or common sense. That’s true, but what legislation can do is force an outcome and that’s what we demand. We need to position this State for the future – not the past.”
I urge honourable members to support this bill, because by supporting this bill, you truly are positioning this State for the future and would be doing something positive for our children and future generations.
This is sensible legislation that has been drafted because the Government failed to act.
I pray the Rann Government now has the courage to accept it should not have walked away, that it made a mistake by doing so and that it can now correct this error in judgement by supporting this Bill.