7 July 2022
The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: I rise to speak in relation to the South Australian Motor Sport (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill. Before doing so, I want to put on the public record for members' benefit the fact that I am a city resident; however, I do not consider that to be a conflict of interest. After all, the part of the city that I live in is not directly impacted by the sports race. It is also a large class of persons. I note that the race can proceed irrespective of what happens with this particular bill, given this is establishing the Motorsport Board, but the government already has the authority to press ahead with an Adelaide 500 race. I did think it was worthwhile putting that on the record.
The Greens' concerns around car racing are well known and have been well documented, as stated by my colleague the Hon. Tammy Franks and my predecessor Mark Parnell. I have been on the public record many times over the years as an Adelaide city councillor, expressing concern around car racing. I do question whether this is the best use of public money, to spend millions of dollars of taxpayer money—I think it is about $20 million over four years—on car racing, given the significant crises we face at the moment, the crisis in terms of the cost of living and the lack of affordable housing.
I also question whether this is really in keeping with the new government's priorities. Given we are in the midst of a climate emergency and this parliament has declared that, is now really the time to be bringing gas guzzlers and all those emissions back onto our city streets and celebrating car racing, a sport that does have such a significant impact on emissions? I do not think it is, but this is a view that the government has taken. It has certainly long been the view of the Greens that it is better for these matters to be dealt with by the Motorsport Board in terms of transparency rather than the Tourism Commission.
I also want to flag the impact that this race could have on the Parklands, this public green space. There is an impact potentially on the natural flora and fauna in that area. One thing that is quite unique about the Adelaide 500 race in particular is that it is a race that runs through the CBD. In other places around the world, particularly Melbourne in Albert Park, it is a little removed from the city and so it has a slightly different impact.
I am concerned about the impacts of motor racing. I do question whether this is the correct priority for the government at this present time, at a time of climate crisis and growing inequality. I also do have some concerns around the impact this might have on city businesses. I heard media reports during the week that the Adelaide City Council has considered some of these issues and raised concerns around the impact on city businesses. I will be very interested in hearing some responses from the government in relation to those concerns as part of the committee stage.