Glenthorne Farm

13 Nov 2007 questionsarchive

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

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: As members may be away, Glenthorne Farm is a significant property located adjacent South Road near O'Halloran Hill. It was first established in 1839 and has a number of historic properties on the site. In November 1998, there was an MOU between the commonwealth government, CSIRO and the state government to sell the property to the South Australian government, conditional upon no urban development taking place at the property. I have obtained a number of documents under freedom of information from 2006 and 2007, many of which refer to development. There is the outline of a proposal for Glenthorne of 88 hectares of sustainable and affordable housing; a minute dated 15 December 2006 (I refer to Primary Industries documents); and a revised concept plan by the university that proposes open space on the northern portion of the site and residential development on southern land contiguous to Trott Park.

Under a proposal by the University of Adelaide this year, up to 30 per cent of Glenthorne Farm may need to be developed to provide capital to deliver the program. Further, an internal memorandum contained in documents from the University of Adelaide refers to a meeting with the Hon. John Hill (minister for the south) and the Hon. Paul Holloway (minister for planning). It has some initials, 'VC/IK/PD', and 'preferred developer [my emphasis added] to attend meetings'. It then goes on to state:

Other items of communication strategy to be proposed by and discussed with preferred developer. Communication to remaining developers must be sensitive and careful so as to not prejudice University of Adelaide's position.

My questions to the minister are:

1. Has either he or the Minister for the Southern Suburbs met with the University of Adelaide in relation to this proposal?

2. Does he support the sale of any portion of Glenthorne Farm in spite of the fact that the previously signed agreement prohibited it?

3. Is he aware of whether the selection of the 'preferred developer' met with South Australian government procurement principles?

The Hon. P. HOLLOWAY (Minister for Police, Minister for Mineral Resources Development, Minister for Urban Development and Planning) (14:41): The honourable member has had a freedom of information request on this matter. I do think that she has not read it all, otherwise she would get the full picture. Glenthorne Farm, of course, was sold. It came from the commonwealth government. It was sold at a peppercorn price, as I recall it, to the University of Adelaide, which was intending to establish, I think, some vineyards on the area—or its original idea was that it would use Glenthorne Farm in some way associated with its viticultural activities. Subsequently, the university found that that was not viable for whatever reason, and it did approach the government some time ago now—it must be at least a year if not two years ago.

The honourable member would have the dates on her FOI. The university did put an approach to the government whereby its position was that it was not able to use the land viably for its original purpose and it wanted the government to look at some other proposals. The government has made its position clear in relation to the future of that site.

It is clear that conditions were on it. It was actually the commonwealth government that passed it over; and, obviously, the commonwealth government would have a view on the future use of this farm. Really, the University of Adelaide put this proposal, and the government was not attracted to it. It was back with the university and, as far as I am aware, that is where it has stayed for the past 12 months or more. The university has not come back with any further proposal, to my knowledge, but I will check the record. That is really where the matter stands.

The university was proposing to do something with it, I think basically to use the northern part of Glenthorne Farm. To make it viable it was proposing some sort of development on the southern side but, as I said, after the university met with the government that was not proceeded with. In relation to meeting with developers, I am not aware of any preferred developer. Certainly I have not met with one, and I doubt that the Minister for the Southern Suburbs has either, but I will check with him.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (14:43): As a supplementary question, will the minister confirm whether the government has specifically instructed the University of Adelaide that no Glenthorne Farm site will be developed?

The Hon. P. HOLLOWAY (Minister for Police, Minister for Mineral Resources Development, Minister for Urban Development and Planning) (14:44): As I said, the honourable member had her FOI. If you get this stuff, why don't you read the letter? I do not have it here. I have not looked at the file for a long time because nothing has happened in relation to it for at least 12 months. In terms of what the correspondence says specifically, as I said, the honourable member has that. What is the point of having the FOI laws if members do not read the information? It is quite clear—

The Hon. J.M.A. Lensink interjecting:

The Hon. P. HOLLOWAY: Mr President, I think the member is saying that the Labor candidate for Kingston would not be sleeping very well. So, the honourable member has dug up this FOI stuff that is 18 months old on a project that has been rejected by the government when there was a proposition about doing it, and she is now trying to suggest something. Let me repeat it. There was a proposition that the University of Adelaide put. It was unable to proceed with its original proposal. It would have been great if it could have grown the vineyards there but it could not do it. It wanted to look at some other option and the government did not support that option. Let me say that again: the government did not support that option 18 months or two years ago, and I am not aware of any subsequent proposal.