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Protection for Martindale Hall and SA Heritage

8 February 2022

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: I want to use this opportunity to put on the record the Greens' opposition to this bill, the proposal from the Marshall government that Martindale Hall be sold off for future privatisation. What this bill seeks to do is to abolish the Martindale Hall Conservation Park and to extinguish the charitable trust established by the gift of the hall to the people of South Australia. We consider that to be an absolute travesty.

This is a building that is iconic. It belongs to all South Australians, and it should be protected as a vital piece of our history. We know, of course, what happens when the Liberals sell off our beautiful iconic buildings. We know what happens to those buildings: they sit there idle and they fall into disrepair. Such is the casualty of the Liberals' fire sale of our beautiful and iconic buildings. I recognise that the Labor Party also undertook some of that privatisation work during their time in office.

Looking around the City of Adelaide, sadly we see the consequences of this privatisation: Edmund Wright House, which has been vacant since 2015; the Adelaide GPO, which has been vacant now for two years; Davaar House, a long-term vacancy that is now in disrepair; Hotel Tivoli has been shut for eight years; Freemasons Hall is another one that is about to fall; the Newmarket Hotel has been vacant since 2017; Gawler Chambers, vacant since 2004; the former Primitive Methodist Church in North Adelaide, vacant since 2014; and the list goes on.

They are beautiful iconic buildings that have been left to decay because they have either been sold off to private enterprise or they have not been brought back into public hands. Certainly, what the Greens are calling for, as well as opposing this particular piece of legislation, is the next government to put some money on the table to buy back these beautiful buildings, to ensure that they are managed for the public good, to take steps to actually punish developers and landholders who allow these buildings to fall into disrepair and to put some money on the table to encourage activation of these beautiful buildings.

It is an absolute travesty that we have people sleeping on the street in the middle of this heatwave whilst we have beautiful buildings such as this sitting there idle, sitting there vacant, gathering dust. The Greens will not allow that to happen to our iconic Martindale Hall, and that is why I wanted to take this opportunity to put our opposition to this legislation on the public record. I hope that this legislation does not find its way back onto the Notice Paper in the new parliament.