Riverbank Footbridge

17 Oct 2012 archivespeech

This speech is in relation to the Riverbank footbridge motion. The motion is to disallow the regulations made in relation to the Riverbank footbridge. The reason for disapproval is that they permit the Adelaide Oval footbridge to be built without the normal development approval. This bill states that the Riverbank footbridge should receive the same amount of transparency as the Adelaide Oval redevelopment, indeed, did itself.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (16:42): I move:

That the regulations under the Development Act 1993 concerning the Riverbank footbridge, made on 12 July 2012 and laid on the table of this council on 1 July 2012, be disallowed.

This motion is to disallow these regulations, namely, in relation to the Riverbank footbridge, which were made on 12 July and laid on the table on 17 July. The reason that we do so is that they permit the Adelaide Oval footbridge to be built without the normal development approval. We think that this has been a sneaky process, and we believe that this particular issue should receive the same amount of transparency as the Adelaide Oval redevelopment, indeed, did itself.

We were told prior to the election that it would cost $450 million and not a cent more, and we, this parliament, has ensured that that promise will be met. However, this new $40 million footbridge was not part of that additional proposal, and we think that, in light of all sorts of strange cuts being made (cuts of very small amounts to the worthwhile work of non-government organisations), that the government is in so much trouble that it ought to reconsider whether it needs to be spending this volume of money on something which is hard to justify.

The member for Adelaide has raised this issue and she, with her keen eye, has noted that the regulations granting a development plan consent exemption were strangely contained within schedule 1A of the Development Regulations 2008. That was alongside a whole range of trivial household items which should not require consent, such as brush fences, outbuildings, carports and verandas, spa pools, shade sails, water tanks and so forth. It was quite an interesting inclusion in that set of regulations, and I will be intrigued to listen to the government's defence of why it was included.

So, these regulations not only exempt the footbridge from requiring Development Plan approval but also extend the Adelaide Oval core area 500 metres beyond the areas identified in the Adelaide Oval Management and Development Act of 2011. We do not think that has been a particularly transparent process. We doubt that the case has been adequately made for a footbridge. The government commissioned an Atkins report to model pedestrian use of a footbridge, in which it expected the most frequent attendance level to be between 30,000 to 45,000 people. We are very sceptical about those figures.

With the recent events that have taken place, the Adelaide and Freemantle semi-final attendance was 31,742 and the Adelaide Oval showcase game between Port Adelaide and Melbourne was 29,340. The Atkins report states that the optimum width for the bridge to effectively accommodate expected crowds is 14 metres squared. However, the government has expressed its scepticism of these findings by committing to a smaller eight to 10-metre curved bridge, which would, according to the report, create a maximum queue for spectators of 36 minutes. So, the question really is why we are building a bridge when there will still be the need to close off War Memorial Drive for each match.

There is also the issue of the Parklands and additional encroachment on the Parklands. A number of us believe that the Parklands need to be preserved and their original use kept in mind, and that development on them should be done only as an absolutely last resort or within what was originally anticipated, because it is death by a thousand cuts with the Parklands that continue to be eroded when those sort of things are allowed to take place. We also believe that the footbridge project should be subject to parliamentary scrutiny and that there ought to be greater public scrutiny as well. This design that has been proposed does not minimise impact on the Parklands or the River Torrens.

In relation to the Parklands, the Parklands Act disallows major projects under section 46 of the Development Act and disallows crown developments except minor works. We believe that the Parklands Act is very clear, it having gone through with bipartisan support, and that Parklands development should take place only with very close scrutiny and broad consultation. We have seen in the past this government riding roughshod over city residents, calling them all sorts of names because they wanted to preserve the integrity of the Parklands, and this may well be yet another example of the government trying to sidestep proper process in order to make way for its fantasy of development that this state can just not afford. In the interests of providing this issue with greater scrutiny and proper process, as ought to take place with any development of this nature, I commend this motion to the house.

Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. Carmel Zollo.