Glenthorne Farm

14 Oct 2008 questionsarchive

I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Urban Development and Planning questions about Glenthorne Farm.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Honourable members may recall that I raised this issue in November last year to this minister in relation to freedom of information documents which demonstrated the intention to sell some 30 per cent of this site for public housing. The minister, at that stage, advised that he had not had any meetings with Adelaide University (the current owners of that site) and would get back to us with further information, if the university communicated with him in relation to the proposal. Adelaide University has recently revealed that it intends to sell 40 per cent of the site for public housing in order to fund its reforestation program. My questions are:

1. Is the minister aware of these current proposals and has he met with university representatives?
2. Has the government's policy changed, given that last year the minister said that the government would continue to oppose any sale of land at this site?

The Hon. P. HOLLOWAY (Minister for Mineral Resources Development, Minister for Urban Development and Planning, Minister for Small Business) (14:47): I thank the honourable member for her question. Yes, I am aware that Adelaide University has been having discussions with the local community in relation to the future of Glenthorne Farm. Originally, Glenthorne Farm was handed over to Adelaide University for a nominal sum with the intention, I believe, that the university was going to build some sort of centre to assist with the wine industry. For whatever reason, that did not prove possible, so the university has been looking at other arrangements as to what it might do with the land, and it has come up with this proposal about which it is currently consulting the local community. I understand that this week, for example—and perhaps it is this evening and later this week—some public meetings will be held in relation to that.

The government's view has been that the land was transferred to the university on the basis that there would be no housing on the site but, of course, the understanding was that it was to be a centre relating to the wine industry. We have not changed our view, but the university has been looking at what other options it can come up with in order to utilise the land. It has put this proposal forward.

As I said, I am aware that the university is going through those discussions and that the university, I presume once it has finished that, will put a further formal proposal to the government as to what it intends to do. I have been informed that the university is having discussions with the community at the moment—and I have been sent a copy of the brochure that has been circulated—but no further formal proposal has emerged, and I guess that the government will not receive any formal proposal until after the completion of consultations.

Incidentally, I believe that there are three options that are in that discussion document from the university. Certainly, the government's view, at this stage, remains consistent with what it was when the land was transferred. However, the university, given that it is the current occupier of that site, is entitled to look at whatever options it may put forward and, certainly, some aspects of the proposal it is putting forward to develop this farm to reafforest 150,000 hectares of woodlands, I think it is, through the hills face have merit. It is something that I guess is worth looking at. However, how that is paid for, of course, is something that will have to be worked out later. Certainly, from the government's point of view, we have not changed our position at this time, but we will wait until we get a formal proposal from the university, and presumably that will follow its consultation with the public.