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Pages tagged "Planning and Heritage"

Heritage Protection for the Park Lands

8 February 2022

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: I want to thank members for their contributions. I acknowledge the contribution of the Hon. Emily Burke, the contribution of the Hon. Frank Pangallo and the contribution of the Hon. Michelle Lensink. I do want to acknowledge the fact that we are at an exciting moment where all political parties are supporting the heritage listing of our iconic Parklands and Adelaide's iconic green space. I think that really is a breakthrough moment in terms of protection of our Parklands.


This has been a long-term campaign by Parklands advocates. It is over 10 years ago that we saw the Adelaide Parklands included on the National Heritage List, and since that time there has been a long-term push for the Adelaide Parklands to be included on the state heritage list. It is terrific to see such strong support for this bill, and certainly, whether the Labor Party claims government or whether the Liberal Party is returned to government in March, the Greens will be reintroducing this legislation into the new parliament to ensure that the two major parties make good on their commitment and their support for this legislation so that we can make this a reality. I see today's vote as being an important step in that regard, and I acknowledge the support of my colleagues in making that happen.


I will respond very briefly and directly to one of the comments made by the Hon. Emily Bourke. The Hon. Ms Bourke has asked about the involvement of the Adelaide City Council. Whilst it is true that I have not negotiated directly with the council on this bill, the council has had a long-term position of supporting state heritage listing for the Adelaide Parklands and also supporting World Heritage listing for the Parklands. I would certainly see that this bill, were it to become law, would strengthen that campaign for World Heritage listing.


In the interests of time, I indicate on behalf of the Greens that we are supportive of two of the three amendments that are going to be put forward by the government. We support amendment No. 2 [Lensink-1] and amendment No. 3 [Lensink-1]. We do not support amendment No.1, which relates to the time frame in which the bill would come into operation. There may well be a change of government in March, and they may well have very different priorities in terms of the work of the bureaucracy, and it may be possible to expedite this.


People have been waiting a very long time for state heritage listing, and I do not want to see more delays put in place. It is for that reason that we are opposed to that first amendment from the government. I acknowledge the support of all parties in terms of making this happen.


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.


Adelaide Parklands State Heritage Bill

01 December 2021

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS:

The bill that I rise to speak on today seeks to include the Adelaide Parklands on the state's heritage list. The Adelaide Parklands, established in 1837, were the world's first public park, and Adelaide remains the only city in the world that is garlanded by parks. It is a reminder of just how fortunate we are, particularly during this time of climate emergency.


In 2008, the Parklands received national heritage listing by the then minister for environment, the Hon. Peter Garrett. In 2009, the process formally began to ask the state Heritage Council to consider whether SA should follow the federal government's lead and declare that the Parklands are worthy of state heritage recognition. Well, 12 years later we are still waiting.


A process of public consultation began in 2017 and featured a record number of public submissions in support of the state heritage listing. In 2018, the state government announced its intention to include the Parklands on the state heritage list, following a recommendation of the state Heritage Council, and yet here we are coming to the end of 2021 and we still have no action from the Marshall government.


Indeed, the former Labor government were silent on this too. At a time when South Australians expect to see our beautiful and rare city green spaces included on the state heritage list, both of our major parties have failed to take action. That is why the Greens have taken the step of introducing this private member's bill today.


The bill is a simple one. All it seeks to do is include the Parklands on the state's heritage list. Once we do this, it would certainly strengthen the case for any world heritage consideration, something that the Adelaide Park Lands Association and others have been campaigning for for some time.


This bill is very timely because we know that the Parklands are under threat like never before. Just the last period of sitting we saw the Labor and Liberal parties vote in unison to defeat my private member's bill that would have ensured this parliament had oversight over any rezoning of the Parklands. Sadly, that has opened the way not only to the sports arena on the Helen Mayo Park but also the other things that the government has in its sights in terms of rezoning—cafes, apartment towers, restaurants and the like. All of these things have been included in the government's rezoning plans. Sadly, the government is now able to press ahead with those without parliamentary oversight.


Unfortunately, this bill will not correct that. That horse has bolted. What it would do is ensure that, if there is going to be any development of the Parklands in future, there is consideration of what this means for the state heritage values of the site. I think that is a really vitally important safeguard of our city's iconic green space.


In order to be considered for state heritage listing, an area must include early or important settlements, other significant towns or suburbs of heritage value or natural landscapes. It seems completely at odds that the government is still assessing the worth of the Parklands when it met its national heritage standards more than 12 years ago. It really is time for this parliament to act.


To give you a sense of other areas that are state heritage listed, we have 17 state heritage areas that reflect heritage of importance to all South Australians. These are: Arckaringa Hills, Belair National Park, Beltana, Burra, Colonel Light Gardens, Gawler Church Hill, Goolwa, Hahndorf, Cooper Creek, Mintaro, Moonta Mines, Mount Gambier Cave Gardens, Mount Gambier Volcanic Complex, Mount Shank, Mount Torrens, Penola and Port Adelaide


Looking at this list, it is clear that the Parklands would be a worthy inclusion. South Australians know how precious our Parklands are. They are the envy of cities all around the world. They are the lungs of our city, and it is time that we took all steps necessary to protect their cultural, historic, Indigenous and environmental heritage. This private member's bill, which would provide state heritage listing, is an important step in that regard.


I do not know what the future holds. If we find that we are in this place in the new year, I would like to bring this bill to a head and to a vote. If I have an opportunity to do that, I will do so, but if not, I will certainly—should I be fortunate enough to be re-elected—reintroduce a similar bill after the next state election and give this place an opportunity to vote on it.


I think it is important for this parliament to take this important step of recognising the value of our iconic green space, and that is precisely what this bill does. With that, I commend the bill.


Fighting to Protect Our Parklands

17 November 2021

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: I thank the Hon. Frank Pangallo for his support, and I express regret at the position of the Labor and Liberal parties. They often have stoushes in this place, but they always get back together again, particularly when it comes to taking over our public green space, and that is what we are seeing happening here tonight.


Make no mistake that what the Labor Party are doing here in opposing this bill is they are facilitating the government's plans to take over our public green space. They are facilitating the rezoning of the Parklands. They are opening the door not only to the sports arena, which they say they oppose, they are also opening the door to the other rezoning the government has proposed: cafes, shops, apartment towers, nightclubs, low level industry, because the government can do all of this without bringing the matter to parliament.


That is precisely what my bill was trying to address. It was trying to ensure this parliament has a say on changes that would fundamentally change the character of our Parklands and of our city's green space. Sadly, the Labor Party have totally missed an opportunity here to show some backbone, to stand up to the Liberals and to defend our Parklands from what is in effect a takeover from the development sector.


The idea of giving the Liberals the keys to develop our Parklands is like giving Count Dracula the keys to the blood bank. Once the development sector sink their teeth in they will change the character of our public space forever. I agree with the Labor Party on one thing: we do not need a multimillion dollar sports stadium. After all, if members of the South Australian community want to come along and watch an Olympic-style backflip they can come to this chamber and watch the Labor Party in action, because that is what we are seeing tonight: an embarrassing backflip, an appalling capitulation to this Liberal government.


The Treasurer has got me. Sneaky Simms has been exposed again, because he is right: I am no supporter of the planning regime that was set in place by the previous Labor government. I am no fan of the idea that we can see development on our public land—on our national heritage-listed Parklands—without even giving the parliament a say.


It is pathetic that the Labor Party have not joined with the Greens in supporting this and that they have not had the moral courage to stand with us and with the SA-Best party and others and say to the government, 'If you are wanting to rezone our public space, you have to come to this parliament and defend what you are doing.' As a result, tonight the sports arena is well and truly on the agenda. The minister can give the green light to that rezoning at any time, and not only that but the raft of other commercial development the government has in its sights.


The Treasurer can say, 'We don't plan to do anything on Pinky Flat.' Well, why on earth are they seeking a rezoning? If they do not want to do anything with that space, why are they trying to rezone it? They are trying to rezone it because they want to let the genie out of the bottle and give developers a chance to move into our Parklands. This is a really dark day for our public green space.


I will be calling a division on this matter so that all members of the community can see who stands with the community in defending our national heritage-listed Parklands and who stands with the big end of town and the development sector that want to exploit this public land.


Join the fight to protect our Park Lands!

The State Government’s proposed rezoning of the Park Lands could open the door to permanent cafes, restaurants, shops and multi-story buildings in the Riverbank area. This would change the character of our Park Lands forever.

We secured an important win in the battle to protect our public space when the Legislative Council backed my motion opposing the rezoning of Helen Mayo Park to enable a sports arena on the Riverbank, but there are still some big challenges ahead.

Watch my speeches on the motion here and here.

I have introduced a Private Members Bill to ensure that the Minister can’t implement any rezoning of the Park Lands without the support of the parliament. This is an important safeguard.

Watch my second reading speech here.

Momentum is building in the campaign to protect the Park Lands but we need your help. Can you write to the Leaders of the Labor and Liberal Parties and urge them to support my bill?

Steven Marshall MP
Premier
State Administration Centre,
200 Victoria Square, Adelaide, South Australia 5000

(08) 8429 3232 / [email protected] 

Peter Malinauskas MP
Opposition Leader
Parliament House
North Terrace
Adelaide SA 5000

(08) 8237 9137 / [email protected]

Our Park Lands belong to all South Australians. Let’s send the Labor and Liberal parties a clear message that they are not for sale!


Motion: Opposing the Riverbank Arena

27 October 2021

 

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: In summing-up, I want to thank the honourable members for their contribution to this debate. In particular, I thank the Hon. Emily Bourke from the Labor Party and the Hon. Frank Pangallo from SA-Best for speaking in support of this bill. Of course, I acknowledge the contribution of the Treasurer as well and the position of the government.


The arguments here have been well ventilated, but I do want to emphasise that this debate is about much more than the future of the Helen Mayo Park. It is about the future of our Parklands. If the government presses ahead with this rezoning and this arena on the Riverbank, we put the national heritage listing of our iconic Parklands at risk.


I also note, as the Hon. Frank Pangallo has done, the comments made by Kaurna elder Jeffrey Newchurch to the Adelaide City Council Reconciliation Committee, where he advised the committee that the proposed site for the entertainment arena was of cultural significance. This really needs to be taken into consideration.


Members will also be aware that last night the City Council, of which I was previously a member, voted to oppose this development. I recognise the presence of Councillor Keiran Snape in the gallery, who is someone who has been a strong advocate on the Parklands.


As I say, this is about more than just Helen Mayo Park. I fear there is the potential for this arena to be used as a Trojan Horse, something that could enable a raft of other developments on the Parklands. We know that this Liberal government has a much broader vision for the Parklands in its sites—cafes, restaurants, fixed structures, multistorey buildings, residential apartment towers.


The Hon. S.G. Wade interjecting


The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: This commercialisation of our public green space—I am not sure why the Minister for Health is calling out. He sounds like he is as aghast as most South Australians are about the proposal, because this is actually part of the code amendment that has gone out for consultation. If we lose our Parklands, we can never get them back.


Earlier today, I introduced a private member's bill to deal with the other elements of this rezoning, ensuring that the parliament has its say on the proposed planning code amendments on the Parklands. If this motion succeeds today, it will send the government a very clear message: hands off our Parklands. I submit that if this motion were successful it would be untenable for the government to push ahead with this rezoning on Helen Mayo Park because to do so would flout the will of a house of this parliament.


Members interjecting


The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: Again, I hear the members of the government guffawing, but I think it is pretty reasonable to say that when you are talking about public space you consult with the parliament. With that, I put the motion.


Adelaide Park Lands Amendment Bill

27 October 2021

 

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: I move:


That this bill be now read a second time.


The Planning, Development and Infrastructure (Adelaide Park Lands) Amendment Bill seeks to amend the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act to ensure that any amendment to the Planning and Design Code that relates to development in the Adelaide Parklands must be approved by resolution of both houses of parliament.


This is a simple change but it is one that is vitally important. We know, of course, that the Parklands are currently subject to a code amendment process and that the state government has announced plans to rezone the Riverbank area. This rezoning would allow commercial development on the Parklands, including shops, cafes, a Riverbank arena and even high-rise towers, some of which are residential.


The government has been progressing this at lightning speed. This is the most significant change to the Parklands in decades, an enormous land grab from the state government, yet it has been progressing with just six weeks' consultation—totally inadequate. The consultation on the code amendment closes today and the community have been given a meagre six weeks to consider the implications of this. It is an outrage.


What happens on the Parklands has significant implications for all South Australians because this public green space belongs to us all. The Parklands are indeed the lungs of our city but they are also nationally heritage listed. Back in 2010, the then federal environment minister, the Hon. Peter Garrett, included the Adelaide Parklands and the city plan on the national heritage list. One of the concerns around what the state government is proposing here in terms of its code amendment is that commercial development on the Parklands could jeopardise our national heritage listing.


Indeed, many of the things being proposed here, like a Riverbank precinct, could significantly impact on the vista, in terms of the views from the Parklands, and significantly impact on the public enjoyment of that green space. As a result, our national heritage listing could be compromised. That would be disastrous in terms of the future of our Parklands, particularly when there has been a long-term campaign to see World Heritage listing for our iconic green space.


This land is also of cultural significance to the Kaurna people. Kaurna elder Jeffrey Newchurch recently advised the Adelaide City Council Reconciliation Committee—this was reported in TheAdvertiser—that the proposed site for the entertainment arena was of cultural significance. That has not been adequately considered by the government. The History Trust (correction: History Council) of South Australia has also sent an open letter to Premier Marshall, reported in CityMag today. In the letter, they state that:


The HCSA objects to the Government’s proposal to acquire land for Government purposes…and to rezone it for uses other than open space and community recreation facilities.


The HCSA strongly objects to each of these proposals that will decrease the area of the green belt encompassing the city.


There is mounting opposition to these radical rezoning plans: opposition from Aboriginal elders, opposition from the History Trust of South Australia, opposition from Parklands advocates, and opposition from the South Australian community more broadly—those who care about our public space and do not want to see it being commercialised and privatised in this way.


My concern is that if we go down this privatisation path, if we go down the path of commercialising our city's public green space, if we see cafes, restaurants, nightclubs, apartment towers and the like, we will never, ever get it back. The future of our Parklands, the lungs of our city, is really hanging in the balance.


Therefore, given such high stakes, it is vitally important that the parliament has a say. This should not be a decision that resides with the government of the day or indeed the minister. It should be a decision that resides with the whole parliament, and that is what my bill is seeking to achieve. It is simply inserting a requirement on the government of the day that if they are proposing a rezone of the Parklands that will not come into effect until there has been a resolution of both houses of parliament.


That is a vital safeguard. I think it is something that South Australians would welcome, and I hope that all parties will get on board and support it. It is my intention to bring this to a vote before the election so that this parliament has an opportunity to have a say on this important reform. I call on the Marshall government to pause their plans to privatise our public green space until the parliament has at least had an opportunity to consider it.


This is a land grab of historic proportions. It threatens the very future of our Parklands and let me say to the government that if they want to press ahead with this, they will not be able to do so without one hell of a fight from the Greens. We will be fighting them tooth and nail. We will be fighting for the right of the parliament to have a say and for the concerns of the South Australian community to be heard. A six-week consultation period is an absolute disgrace. This parliament needs to have its say on this code amendment, and that is what this bill would do.


Question: Adelaide Park Lands Rezoning

27 October 2021

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question without notice to the minister representing the Minister for Planning, the Treasurer, on the topic of Adelaide Parklands rezoning.


Leave granted.


The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: The government is currently pursuing code amendments on the Parklands, enabling commercial buildings such as cafes and restaurants on both sides of the Riverbank. The government has stated that it does not intend to develop on Pinky Flat. My question therefore to the Treasurer is: if the government is not intending to develop on Pinky Flat, why on earth is it pursuing this code amendment?


The Hon. R.I. LUCAS (Treasurer) (14:51): I am happy to refer the honourable member's question to the minister and bring back a reply, but in part, as I understand it, after consultation the minister retains the power to make changes or amendments based on the feedback. I think the member has clearly stated, evidently, the minister's and/or the government's position in relation to Pinky Flat, so I will refer the member's question to the minister, but stay tuned.


Protecting Our Park Lands

22 September 2021

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (16:08): I move:


That this council—

  1. Notes that the site proposed by the state government for a ‘Riverbank Arena’, Helen Mayo Park (Park 27), is designated Parklands under the Adelaide Park Lands Act 2005;
  2. Notes that the Adelaide Parklands and city layout are listed on the national heritage register and parts of the proposed site fall within the area of the listing;
  3. Notes that the proposed development of the site could impact adversely on the heritage values of the Parklands; and
  4. Opposes the state government developing Helen Mayo Park on the basis that this represents a further erosion of the Parklands that is inconsistent with its status as a nationally heritage listed site.


The motion that I am speaking to today relates to the future of the Riverbank. Members will be aware that the state government has recently announced plans for a so-called Riverbank arena. Of course, as is often the case with projects such as this, the site that they have chosen is on our city's public green space, the Parklands, because this is free land and tends to be land that governments highlight for development.


That is a great shame because of course this is the land that belongs to all South Australians in common. But the land that has been chosen here is Helen Mayo Park, or Park 27 under the Adelaide Park Lands Act, and it is named after one of South Australia's most famous women, Helen Mayo, who was a pioneer in medicine and health education. I wonder what she would think of the Premier's plan to obliterate the park that had been named in her honour.


This is yet another project that has been earmarked for Park 27 over the last few years. It has already lost many hectares of public green space. There is now police, medical facilities, university buildings—the sky is the limit in terms of the developments that we see on that site. Indeed, a few years ago, it was the focus of potential development with a helipad. Members may recall the plans of the leader of the Town Hall arm of the Liberal Party, Team Adelaide, Houssam Abiad, who proposed that that site host a helipad for joy rides for the mega rich. Now, the state government are viewing this site and plan to use it for yet another development, this time, as I say, the so-called Riverbank arena.


It is not just the Greens that are concerned about the potential for this development to erode the Parklands and to damage our green space, the Adelaide Park Lands Authority has expressed concerns and on 25 March it sought an urgent meeting with Adelaide Venue Management Corporation. It says in a report, which I will read for your interest:


Noting that the Park Lands already hosts Adelaide Oval, Tennis Centre, two hotels, approximately 200 ha of licensed playing fields, a hospital, the Thebarton Police Barracks and the Road Safety Centre as well as other public infrastructure, the Authority is concerned about the impact of further built form on the publicly-accessible open space provided by the Adelaide Park Lands.


The Adelaide Parklands are on the National Heritage List register. This occurred back in 2008 under the leadership of the then environment minister Peter Garrett at a federal level. That national heritage listing means that the character of the Parklands should be protected for the public good. I am very concerned that this listing is going to be jeopardised if this Riverbank arena proceeds.


Those concerns were heightened when I read a report that was made available to the Adelaide Park Lands Authority from Lara Daddow, the Acting Associate Director, Park Lands, Policy and Sustainability at the City of Adelaide, and that looks at the implications of the Riverbank arena and what that means for the Adelaide Parklands.


I will read the relevant sections into Hansard. The report notes that under section 4 of the Adelaide Park Lands Act, there are seven statutory principles, which are person or body responsible for the care, control and management of any part of the Adelaide Parklands must have regard for and seek to apply. Of particular relevance here are the following—and, again, I will read them on to the public record:

  • 33.1 The land comprising the Adelaide Park Lands should, as far as is reasonably appropriate, correspond to the general intentions of Colonel William Light in establishing the first Plan of Adelaide in 1837.
  • 33.2 The Adelaide Park Lands should be held for the public benefit of the people of South Australia, and should be generally available to them [to use and enjoy]…
  • 33.3 The Adelaide Park Lands reflect and support a diverse range of environmental, cultural, recreational and social values and activities that should be protected and enhanced.
  • 33.4 The Adelaide Park Lands provide a defining feature to the City of Adelaide and contribute to the economic and social well-being of the City in a manner that should be recognised and enhanced.
  • 33.5 The contribution that the Adelaide Park Lands make to the natural heritage of the Adelaide Plains should be recognised, and consideration given to the extent to which initiatives involving the Park Lands can improve the biodiversity and sustainability of the Adelaide Plains.
  • 33.6 The State Government, State agencies and authorities, and the Adelaide City Council, should actively seek to co-operate and collaborate with each other in order to protect and enhance the Adelaide Park Lands.
  • 33.7 The interests of the South Australian community in ensuring the preservation of the Adelaide Park Lands are to be recognised, and activities that may affect the Park Lands should be consistent with maintaining or enhancing the environmental, cultural, recreational and social heritage status of the Park Lands for the benefit of the State.


In this report, it is further noted that the Adelaide Parklands and the city layout is listed on the national heritage register and that the boundaries of the proposed site for the Riverbank arena—that is, the Helen Mayo Park—overlap with those that are included within the national heritage register. What are the implications of this? The report notes, and again I quote:


Development on adjacent sites to land within the area of the National Heritage Listing, can still impact on the values of a National Heritage Listed site itself, for instance if the development impeded views into or of the Nationally Heritage Listed site.


And:


Together, or individually [in conjunction with the other projects], these projects could constitute actions under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity and Conservation Act…which impact the National Heritage Listing Values for the Adelaide Park Lands and City Layout.


It is noted further that:


Any construction on…Helen Mayo Park [or some of the other areas that have been earmarked for development by the state government] could be seen as actions which contribute to the cumulative erosion of Park Lands or possibly impact on the views/vistas across and into the Park Lands.


Further, it is noted that:


The Federal Government (Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment) has previously expressed concern about such cumulative erosions of the Adelaide Park Lands and these projects may constitute what is termed a 'controlled action' under the EPBC Act.


The State Government (as proponents) [of the project] will need to refer these…to the Federal Government.


In other words, what this report is highlighting is that if the state government is going to seize this public land and turn it into a Riverbank arena, that could jeopardise the status of the national listing of our Adelaide Parklands. That would be a disaster because we know that the Adelaide Parklands are some of the most unique parklands in the world. They are the lungs of our city and Adelaide is unique in being surrounded by a green belt such as this.


It has been recognised by the federal government through its inclusion on the National Heritage List and that unique character has been recognised by proponents in South Australia. We are waiting for the state government to provide associated recognition and inclusion on the state heritage list. There is also a campaign for this to be world heritage listed, so it would be disastrous if the national heritage listing were to be compromised in this way.


In terms of speaking to the benefits of the Parklands and their protection as green space, I do want to draw your attention to something that really the designers of our city knew all too well, and that is that there is a strong link between the physical and mental health and wellbeing of a community and their ability to freely access and enjoy green spaces.


A German study found the presence of parks helped prompt and facilitate greater social interaction as well as enhancing community satisfaction as a result of their aesthetic value. Access to green spaces has also been recorded to have a positive effect on those suffering from anxiety, depression and mood disorders. I think all of us would agree during the last few years where we have spent more time at home, particularly last year when many of us were working from home, having access to public green space has been vital for community health and wellbeing.


Before concluding my remarks, I want to make a few comments about the plans the Liberals have announced to redevelop the River Torrens under rezoning of the Riverbank Precinct. To accompany this Riverbank arena, it has been outlined—and I read this in The Advertiser a little earlier today—that the Riverbank Precinct rezoning will enable private bars, cafes, shops and tourist ventures to operate on both sides of the River Torrens. Apparently, departmental officers have outlined to the city council that the waterfront precinct between the Torrens Weir and Kintore Avenue will now provide opportunities for small, low-scale shops, cafes, and community, cultural and tourism activities located adjacent to the River Torrens.


So aside from all the existing developments that we have on the public space, we are going to see a Riverbank arena, or a sports stadium, as some have referred to it as, and then a series of shops, cafes and restaurants. So McDonald's on the Parklands alongside the Riverbank? This is a very dangerous precedent that is being established here in terms of commercialisation of our public space. If we go down that path, if we let the genie out of the bottle and allow commercial development on the Parklands in this way on our Riverbank, we will never be able to put the genie back in the bottle. We will never be able to undo it.


I fear that we will trash our unique Adelaide Parklands and we will lose their unique character. That is why I have moved this motion today and why the Greens are calling on all parties to join us in standing up for our unique Parklands and standing up for their unique status on the national heritage register by opposing this plan for a land grab by the state government.


Gas Infrastructure

9 June 2021

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (16:25): Obtained leave and introduced a bill for an act to amend the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016. Read a first time.

Second Reading

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (16:26): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

The Planning, Development and Infrastructure (Gas Infrastructure) Amendment Bill 2021 aims to deal with a problem that South Australian consumers face with respect to gas connections. Despite all the recent innovations in energy efficiency, renewable energy and energy storage, there are many South Australian families who are being locked into higher energy bills, and they are being locked into a lack of choice thanks to the conduct of certain property developers in South Australia.

These developers want to stop South Australian families from being able to choose what kind of energy they use in their homes and they do this by locking them into legally binding arrangements that force them to use fossil fuels in their homes forever. This may sound like a familiar statement, and I can assure you it is. In 2018, my friend and former MLC the Hon. Mark Parnell introduced this exact bill into this place. He hoped then that common sense would prevail. Sadly, three years later we are back here with a second attempt to deal with this issue.

While there are currently no laws in place in South Australia that mandate gas connection to newly developed properties, these connections are mandated by property developers in new developments. This bill seeks to do one simple thing: to legislate to void requirements for mandatory gas connections in new residential developments.

We know that for new houses, all-electric households are cheaper to run, compared to households with gas and electricity, in the medium to long term. Mandated gas connections for newly built properties are expensive, burdensome, unsustainable and environmentally harmful. With more environmentally friendly, cost-effective alternatives available, it is imperative that we move away from this harmful practice. When allowing these clauses of mandatory gas installation to exist, we take away people's autonomy and we condemn our state's future to the continued use of fossil fuels.

I want to make it very clear that I am not saying that people cannot use gas. That is not what this bill is seeking to do. It is about giving consumers, new home owners and those who are purchasing a new property choice. This is a bill about choice. It is not an ideological position. It is about respecting the rights of consumers to determine where they would like to source their energy.

The way that South Australian developers are mandating the use of gas is through these legally binding covenants that are registered on the certificates of title for new houses and land packages in new housing estates. To give you a concrete example, the Lightsview property development is one worthy of consideration. This property development by Peet Limited has been undertaken in partnership with Renewal SA. This is a government agency, and I quote from their mission statement:

…to initiate, undertake, promote, and support urban development activity to help deliver key strategic priorities of the Government of South Australia, particularly the new urban development directions outlined in the 30-Year Plan for Greater Adelaide.

More than 85 per cent of this development has been sold as at June 2021.

Upon further investigation, my office has been advised that these developers are mandating a gas connection to all newly built dwellings. A simple read of section 10.7 of their vacant land contract states that gas connections are mandated alongside the installation of either a gas-boosted split solar system or a six-star instantaneous gas hot water service. It says at section 10.7 of that agreement:

You must install a gas-boosted split solar hot water system or a six star instantaneous gas hot water service on the dwelling to be erected on the allotment in accordance with the requirements of the Lightsview Design Guidelines. A six star instantaneous gas hot water service can be erected on the dwelling as an alternative only when a photo Voltaic system of 1.5 kw or greater is installed also.

The deal is, if you want to buy into the Lightsview estate, you have to agree to connect to gas, and you have to agree to use gas at the very least for heating your home and for heating your water. What this contract means is that you are legally prevented from becoming more energy efficient and from using electricity as an alternative.

This bill is very simple: it outlaws this practice. It declares null and void any attempts to force householders to use fossil fuels in their homes if they do not want to. It puts energy choice back into the hands of South Australian families and takes that power away from the developers. It also frees up the opportunity for South Australian families to save money and to contribute to reducing carbon emissions and reducing our pressure on the climate.

There are significant savings to be made here. According to the Grattan Institute, running a new Adelaide house on all-electric energy would save up to $2,183 over 10 years and up to $5,556 over 10 years. That is if they switched from gas cooking, hot water and space heating. The practice of property developers mandating gas connection and gas use in these homes is locking South Australians into higher energy bills and higher emissions. I know that this will be an issue at the forefront of many South Australians' minds as they consider the harsh winter conditions that we are facing.

I also want to draw this council's attention to the new research that has come out looking at the health impacts of gas cookers in homes. In particular, I refer to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald dated 6 May this year, where it was noted that gas cookers in homes and gas heaters used in thousands of New South Wales classrooms pose serious health risks for children with asthma or allergies. The Climate Council research highlights the danger of gas use domestically, as gas cooking can have the same impact as passive smoking on children with asthma. The fuel should be consigned to the past like coal, wood and kerosene. This is a health risk we can no longer afford, the report says.

I agree. Why on earth are South Australian families, South Australian home owners being denied that choice when they buy a new property off the plan? It seems absurd that in modern South Australia families are being shackled with gas against their will and forced into a situation where they are going to face spiralling energy prices as a result and where they are going to be contributing to carbon emissions. This is a straightforward bill. It is about choice, and I hope that all South Australians will be supportive. I think most South Australians will be supportive—I have positive feedback—but I hope that parties in this place will get behind this simple reform.