Skip navigation

Pages tagged "Planning and Heritage"

Question: Rental Vacancy Rates

6 March 2024

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (14:31): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question without notice to the minister representing the Minister for Planning on the topic of rental vacancy rates.

Leave granted.

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: Figures that were published earlier this week in Domain's February vacancy rates report showed that Adelaide continues to have a vacancy rate of just 0.3 per cent, the lowest in the country. The data shows that in 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Adelaide's rental vacancy rates were much higher, at 1.2 per cent. On Monday, Architecture Australia published an article that suggested that Australia has enough unoccupied homes to cater for the shortage of housing. Also on Monday, SACOSS released its budget submission calling for a vacancy tax to free up more rental properties in our state.

My question to the minister representing the Minister for Planning therefore is: will the government consider a vacancy tax to free up more supply for rentals here in our state and if not, why not?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (14:32): I thank the honourable member for his question. I will refer it to the Minister for Planning in the other place and bring back a response.


New Protections for Heritage Places Passes the Upper House

22 February 2024

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (17:31): I want to thank all members for their contributions: the Hon. Frank Pangallo, the Hon. Nicola Centofanti and the Hon. Emily Bourke. I know that we have had a few disagreements in the chamber this week, but it is nice to end on a Thursday with a moment of agreement where we see all parties on the same page in terms of dealing with this issue.

Many members have touched on the details of the bill, so I do not think it is necessary for me to go through them all again. Suffice to say the clear intention here is to give the relevant minister increased powers regarding those who are sitting on our iconic heritage buildings and allowing them to rot. This bill gives the minister the power to step in and incentivise those buildings being activated.

One of the key changes here is that, as part of a heritage agreement, the minister could potentially step in for the management or occupation of the site. It has always been the view of the Greens that it is morally wrong that we have these iconic buildings sitting there vacant in the middle of a once-in-a-generation housing crisis, so we should be doing everything we can to incentivise the activation of those buildings.

Another of the issues the Greens have been concerned about has been the lack of appropriate penalties for noncompliance, and that is another issue this bill seeks to address. I thank all members for their support. In particular, I want to thank Minister Susan Close's office. I have been in regular communication with the minister regarding this issue and look forward to, hopefully, this bill being supported down the track in the other place.

Bill read a second time.

 

Committee Stage

Bill taken through committee without amendment.

 

Third Reading

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (17:35): I move:

That this bill be now read a third time.

Bill read a third time and passed.


Question: Walker Tower

8 February 2024

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (14:44): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question without notice to the minister representing the Minister for Planning on the topic of the second Walker Tower.

Leave granted.

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: Today, InDaily have reported on the negotiations between the Malinauskas government and the Walker Corporation over the building of a second tower on the Festival Plaza. InDaily reports that, and I quote from the article:

The Premier said there were 'a few different options kicking around' for the site but negotiations are currently focused on the commercial parameters of the new tower and what the public realm investment will be.

He confirmed the proposed building would be a mixed-use tower with retail and hospitality on the ground level and commercial and/or office space above.

The article goes on to state that:

Malinauskas said the 'quid pro-quo' with Walker Corporation was allowing them to go 'potentially a lot further in height'.

In 2021, it was reported that the state government contributed $213 million of public money towards upgrading the area around the first Walker Tower. Then, in 2020, the Adelaide Advertiser reported that the first Walker Tower was exempt from rates during the construction phase as it was situated on Crown land. The article stated that this was estimated to have cost the City of Adelaide $150,000 in lost revenue every year. I understand that SkyCity was exempt from rates during the construction phase because it was also on Crown land. However, the title was returned after construction was complete to ensure that SkyCity would be required to pay rates. My questions to the minister therefore are:

  1. Will the government rule out using more public money to support a private development on Crown land?
  2. If the second tower is built, will the government ensure that the development is required to pay rates to the City of Adelaide both during construction and after completion of the building?
  3. What does the Premier mean when he refers to potentially going a lot further in height? How high can the Malinauskas government go?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (14:46): I thank the honourable member for his questions. I noted that some parts of his introduction referred to decisions that I would assume were made under the previous government, given they were 2020 and 2021. In terms of the other parts of the question, I will refer it to the relevant minister in the other place and bring back a response.

 

In reply to the Hon. R.A. SIMMS (8 February 2024).

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries): The Minister for Housing and Urban Development has advised:

  1. The $213 million works by the state government to deliver upgrades to the Festival Plaza Public Realm and the Adelaide Festival Centre's façade and lobbies have been completed. Recently, the state government announced a further $35 million to upgrade the Adelaide Festival Centre fire system and the northern promenade. These works do not fall within the private development area.

  2. Since May 2021 Walker Corporation has been paying council rates to the City of Adelaide, related to their portion of the Festival Car Park. This is consistent with other private entities in the Adelaide Riverbank Entertainment Precinct. Furthermore, Walker Corporation is obligated, under the One Festival Tower lease, to pay council rates or local government rate equivalent to the state. The rates are payable from completion of the building.
  3. Any development on this site will be subject to the statutory development approval process, which will assess the design and architectural merit and compliance, against the planning policy framework.

National Heritage Referrals

31 October 2023

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (27 September 2023).

1. What self-referrals have the state government made to the federal Minister for the Environment for National Heritage Places within the last two years?

2. Has the new Women's and Children's Hospital development been referred to the federal Minister for the Environment for its potential impact on the National Heritage listed Adelaide Park Lands?

3. On what date was the referral made for the new Women's and Children's Hospital, or if it has not yet been made, what is the anticipated date for referral?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector): The Minister for Climate, Environment and Water has advised:

1. Under the provisions of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), the state government has made one self-referral to the federal Minister for the Environment for National Heritage Places within the last two years. This related to the proposed new Women's and Children's Hospital. The referral for the New Women's and Children's Hospital was released for comment by the Australian government Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water on 17 October 2023.

2. The new Women's and Children's Hospital project team have advised me that a referral to the federal Minister for the Environment, under the provisions of the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, has been made.

This EPBC Act referral is for assessment as to whether the new Women's and Children's Hospital project will be a controlled action as it is proposed within the National Heritage listed Adelaide Park Lands and City Layout.

3. The new Women's and Children's Hospital project team have further advised this EPBC Act referral was made on 21 July 2023.


Question: West End Brewery Site

14 September 2023

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (14:58): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question without notice to the minister representing everybody, the Attorney-General, on the topic of the West End Brewery site.

Leave granted.

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: It was reported in the Adelaide Advertiser online this morning that Renewal SA is the preferred bidder for the prime 8.4-hectare West End Brewery site, and the government's intention is now to engage private developers to construct housing to increase supply to help address our state's housing crisis. My question to the minister is: what percentage of the new dwellings on this site does the government intend to be for affordable housing and what percentage is intended for social housing, and will the government commit to building more than the 15 per cent currently required?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:58): I thank the honourable member for his question. I don't think it will surprise him to know that I don't have an answer for him right now. I will refer it to the appropriate minister, which I am pretty sure will be the Hon. Nick Champion, and bring back a reply, to the extent that one can be brought back. I am not sure what stage of planning it is up to with Renewal SA's bid for that site. I think they are the preferred bidder and, as I understand it, I don't think negotiations have been completed yet, so it might be that I have nothing to bring back, but if there is anything at this stage, I am happy to do so.


Question: Hahndorf Bypass

12 September 2023

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (15:12): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question without notice to the Minister for Regional Development on the topic of the Hahndorf bypass.

Leave granted.

Members interjecting:

The CHAIR: Order!

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: The 2021 Hahndorf Strategic Planning Study commissioned by the state and federal governments found that the lack of connectivity to and from the South Eastern Freeway is causing additional traffic and freight in the township, primarily due to there being no convenient alternative route between the east (Mount Barker) and the north (Balhannah and Woodside) without travelling through the main street of Hahndorf, and there being no convenient alternative route between the south (Echunga) the west (Adelaide) or the east (Murray Bridge) without travelling through the main street of Hahndorf.

The study also found that the current traffic on the Hahndorf main street, Mount Barker Road, is limiting the economy, function and amenity of the township. There are approximately 11,000 vehicles, including 480 heavy vehicles, per day on the main street and a very high number of pedestrians.

In response to three options released for public consultation by the department to resolve the issue, the Hahndorf community canvassed their own option to reduce the impact which involved much less property acquisition and footprint. The option put involved creating a bypass between Echunga Road and the South Eastern Freeway with a half interchange, not the full interchange, with a road running through Beerenberg Farm, put forward by the previous Marshall government.

The Malinauskas government has instead decided to completely scrap the bypass project, diverting all heavy traffic along Strathalbyn and River roads. My questions to the minister therefore are:

1. Is the Minister for Regional Development concerned about the lack of consultation with people living in the region of the Adelaide Hills regarding the government's decision to divert heavy freight traffic along River and Strathalbyn roads?

2. Why isn't the government listening to the community and proceeding with its preferred option of a half interchange?

 

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries): I thank the honourable member for his question. I think it is interesting that those opposite are shouting out and heckling while the member was asking his question. When you see what the difference, the flip-flopping and the changes between those opposite have been—

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order!

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN: —in terms of what they have supported, and then what they have changed, and in terms of their support, and now they are happy to try to score political points over what they are currently doing.

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order!

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN: It is really quite interesting when we look at some of the history as to what the opposition has proposed in regard to this. On 29 April 2021, then transport minister Corey Wingard said:

A full interchange at River Road, a half interchange at River Road in one of the options and a full interchange at Verdun so there's three options that the community will be able to look over and see which ones they think will work best for them.

Then Vincent Tarzia—

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order!

The Hon. K.J. Maher: I can't hear, sir.

The PRESIDENT: Yes, I can't hear.

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order!

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN: Then Vincent Tarzia, on 4 April this year—

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order! Sit down. I can't hear the minister. To be fair, she is actually under some difficulty with her voice today, so I would like to be able to hear her, and I would like some silence while she is trying to answer the question.

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN: On 4 April this year, Vincent Tarzia, shadow transport minister, said:

The Government has just got to listen to locals because at the end of the day there's no point really doing anything unless you take those trucks that don't need to be there from the main street of Hahndorf.

Interesting, it sounds like what is actually being proposed. He continues:

We’ve all been there on a Sunday afternoon, David, we know what it's like, it's bedlam, it's dangerous at the moment and so we're not going to stop…

So it seems that those opposite don't actually know how to communicate with each other. They have been at odds. In terms of their solutions, those opposite don't seem to have one. However, in terms of any further information, I am happy to refer those further questions to the relevant minister in the other place.

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: Supplementary: the minister spoke a lot about the record of the previous government, but why isn't the Labor government listening to the community and proceeding with its preferred option of a half interchange?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries): I have already said that I will refer those questions to the minister in the other place.

The Hon. N.J. Centofanti: Come on, Mr President.

The PRESIDENT: No, she said she is going to refer it.

 

 

22 November 2023

In reply to the Hon. R.A. SIMMS

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries): The Minister for Infrastructure and Transport has advised:

The government is not diverting freight traffic down River and Strathalbyn roads–we are banning through traffic by heavy vehicles over 15m in length from the main street of Hahndorf.

This will require the approximately 130 affected vehicles to amend their standard routes, which will be determined individually by each operator based on the origin and destination of the freight carried. A portion of this traffic is likely to use River and Strathalbyn roads–but equally it is expected that other routes will also be utilised.

River Road is classified as a general access route, permitting the safe operation of freight vehicles up to semitrailer size (19m, 42.5t). According to a 2019 traffic count, 130 heavy vehicles safely traverse this route every day, with no heavy vehicle related crash recorded in the past decade. Additional enhancements to River Road are also planned–intersection upgrades, tree trimming and shoulder sealing that will enhance the travel experience for all users, including locals.

The government will not be building a half or full interchange at Paechtown, which would involve significant acquisition of homes and land from the iconic Beerenburg Farm. The local community was consulted extensively through the Hahndorf project and was resolute in its opposition to this option.


Greens' Adelaide Park Lands Bill Passes Upper House

30 August 2023

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (21:13): I thank all honourable members for their contributions: the Hon. Michelle Lensink, the Hon. Frank Pangallo, and the Hon. Mr Hanson. In responding to the comments made primarily by the government, it is important to consider the genesis of this bill. This is the second time that I have introduced this bill; I did so in the previous parliament, and in fact the catalyst for that was a proposal from the then Liberal government for a redevelopment along the Riverbank, which would have potentially allowed for some commercial development along the Riverbank.

It was possible for the minister to give that the green light, to make a code amendment without approval of the parliament. That had the potential to significantly change the character of the Parklands. As we often see though with the Labor Party, they talked a big game on the issue, but did not do a thing about it when they had an opportunity to support this bill in the parliament at the time. As I often say about the Labor Party when it comes to the Parklands, do not look at what comes out of their mouths, look at what they do with their feet. Look at how they vote and they never vote in favour of enhanced protections for the Parklands. They never take the action that is necessary to protect the Parklands.

This is the party of John Rau; the party that has a terrible track record when it comes to the management of the Adelaide Parklands. We are seeing that tradition continue, unfortunately, under the Malinauskas government. We saw earlier today the passage of a bill that would prevent the Minister for Police from seizing the Parklands for a new police barracks. That has passed this chamber and I hope that the government will support it in the other place, and I hope that this bill will win the support of this chamber also.

I welcome the support of the Liberal opposition and, of course, SA-Best. SA-Best have had a long-term position on this. I recognise that the Liberal Party have reflected on their position and have now changed course. I think there will be a lot of support for the position that the Liberals have now taken in the community, the recognition they now have that there should be additional safeguards when it comes to our Parklands and that they should have a particular status that is protected throughout our planning laws.

My challenge to the Labor Party is: get on board and support this in the other place. There is already a bill that has passed, or two bills now that have passed this chamber. The other relates to state heritage listing of the Parklands. This is potentially going to be a third. Get out of the way and support these bills and demonstrate your commitment to Parklands protection.


Greens' Relocation of SAPOL Facilities Bill Passes Upper House!

30 August 2023

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (20:18): I thank the Hon. Michelle Lensink and the Hon. Connie Bonaros for their remarks and I thank them for their support of this bill. The arguments have been well ventilated. Just to make clear, this bill does not compromise the hospital in any way. I recognise the position of the respective parties on the hospital. What it does do is ensure that the police minister does not have the power to allocate a slab of the Parklands for a new Mounted Operations Unit. That should be non-controversial because the government has indicated that they do not intend to proceed with plans for the police barracks on the Parklands, but this just makes that really clear.

There has been some conjecture about the future locations of the police barracks. Indeed, there has been talk about SAPOL not wanting the Gepps Cross location and pressure falling on the government again to find alternative locations. Well, the Parklands need to be ruled out. It is my hope that this bill is passed through this chamber and then is expedited in the other place to give people in the South Australian community confidence that the Parklands are not going to be handed over to SAPOL. Once this bill passes this chamber, it is over to the Labor Party in the other place to make this a priority to send that clear message to the people of South Australia.


Affordable Housing

30 August 2023

PLANNING, DEVELOPMENT AND INFRASTRUCTURE (AFFORDABLE HOUSING) AMENDMENT BILL

Introduction and First Reading

 

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (17:35): 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 (17:36): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

The Planning, Development and Infrastructure (Affordable Housing) Amendment Bill addresses a critical issue when it comes to new housing developments in our state, that is, the lack of affordable housing for people on low incomes. Housing is a fundamental human right, and everybody deserves a roof over their head and a place to call home. The Australian government's Institute of Health and Welfare states:

Access to good quality, affordable housing is fundamental to wellbeing. It can help reduce poverty and enhance equality of opportunity, social inclusion and mobility.

In 2021, Adelaide was ranked the 13th most unaffordable metro area out of 92 major international housing markets, according to the Demographia International Housing Affordability report. This meant that Adelaide's housing was less affordable than Brisbane, Perth and even New York and Seattle.

According to the Beyond the Housing Crisis report from Believe Housing and UniSA in 2022, Adelaide has the tightest rental market anywhere in the country since 2017, with just 0.2 per cent of properties remaining vacant. This is an example of a serious lack of supply in our housing market and a lack of affordable housing options. I have spoken many times in this place about the housing crisis.

The Malinauskas government have acknowledged the lack of supply of affordable housing in their plan titled 'A better housing future', released in February this year, and I quote from that paper:

The government recognises that our—

that is, their, the government's—

plan provides a response to the current housing challenges, however more needs to be done to continue to support increased and well located affordable and appropriate housing in the state.

The bill the Greens are proposing here today—

There being a disturbance in the gallery:

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: It sounds like it is very popular in the gallery as well.

The PRESIDENT: The Hon. Mr Simms, everybody in the gallery is in raptures.

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: The bill the Greens are proposing here today aims to ensure that affordable housing is considered for all major developments, not just those within the affordable housing overlay.

Currently in South Australia, developments within the affordable housing overlay that are for 20 or more dwellings or residential allotments are required to include 15 per cent of affordable housing. Well, 15 per cent just simply is not enough, and that is why the Greens are proposing 30 per cent, that is, 10 per cent affordable to buy, 10 per cent affordable to rent and 10 per cent that is social housing.

When one considers the maps of the Affordable Housing Overlay available on PlanSA's Property and Planning Atlas, it is clear that many areas of future growth are not currently captured by the overlay. Members will be aware that earlier this year the Malinauskas government announced that new land would be released in Hackham, Dry Creek, Concordia and Sellicks Beach. Of course, we welcome that—recognising that we are in the middle of a housing crisis—but we must ensure that this is not a land release that only serves developers. We must ensure that we do not see Mount Barker 2.0 where there is a lack of appropriate planning. Part of that planning is to ensure that there is appropriate return to the community by way of increased social housing and increased affordable housing.

I recognise the government's commitment to including 15 per cent affordable housing in these new developments. We welcome that, but the reality is, it is simply not enough. What is in place to stop future governments from releasing land that sits outside of the overlay and not ensuring that there is a 15 per cent return? What the Greens are proposing is increasing that return and abolishing the applications simply to the overlay.

The Greens' bill is consistent with calls from advocacy groups such as National Shelter. They have been calling for a mandatory 30 per cent affordable housing in developments. These calls are supported by research undertaken by Shelter, who in 2019 found that 97 per cent of their survey respondents agreed that action was needed to address housing affordability, and that mandatory inclusionary zoning of the kind that the Greens are proposing was the preferred mechanism for that action.

The bill progresses those recommendations and establishes a minimum 30 per cent affordable housing requirement. For the current proposed developments earlier this year, this would double the number of affordable houses to be delivered: from just 3,405 under the Malinauskas government's plan, to 6,810 under the plan of the Greens. That would help another 3,000 households access housing that is affordable for them.

National Shelter has also asked participants of that survey to rate the types of housing options, with the result showing that affordable housing to purchase was the least favoured option, and that build-to-rent products should also be included. Their policy recommendation is that one-third of affordable homes be for rent, one-third for purchase and one-third be made available for social housing, and that is precisely what the Greens are proposing.

I note that two weeks ago the Malinauskas government released the discussion paper for the new Greater Adelaide Regional Plan. The paper claims that with current growth trends we will need an additional 300,000 homes over the next 30 years. Supply is important for ensuring that we address our state's housing crisis. But, as we have this discussion about development, we need to ensure that developers are providing an appropriate return to the community, and that means beefing up our investment in affordable housing and beefing up the investment in social housing.

The Greens' proposal for a minimum requirement of 10 per cent affordable to buy, 10 per cent affordable to own and 10 per cent social public housing is really worthwhile. I intend to write to the Minister for Planning, the Hon. Nick Champion MP, and of course his shadow, the Hon. Michelle Lensink, with whom I have had an opportunity to have a brief conversation in this regard. I intend to write to both of these members and urge them to back this sensible proposal from the Greens, because there is an opportunity for us to work together in the parliament to tackle the state's housing crisis head-on. With that, I conclude my remarks.

 

Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. I.K. Hunter.


Protection of State Heritage Places

30 August 2023

Bills

HERITAGE PLACES (PROTECTION OF STATE HERITAGE PLACES) AMENDMENT BILL

Introduction and First Reading

 

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (16:03): Obtained leave and introduced a bill for an act to amend the Heritage Places Act 1993. Read a first time.

Second Reading

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (16:04): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

The bill I introduce today is to address an issue that threatens the preservation of our cultural heritage, that is, the principle of demolition by neglect. Before I delve into the detail of the bill, I want to note that, of course, when we talk about heritage, for us as Greens we also recognise the importance of promoting and protecting Aboriginal heritage and in particular cultural heritage sites. It is vitally important that that is front and centre of all the discussions we have about heritage here in our state.

This bill relates in particular, however, to our built heritage, and that is the principle of demolition by neglect, which refers to the deliberate acts of neglecting the maintenance and care of our state's historic buildings, ultimately leading to their deterioration and their eventual demolition. It is a known concept. It has been around since the 1990s, at least that is when the term was coined. Sadly, this practice has become all too common in South Australia. It has been endangering our heritage buildings.

In the context of South Australia, we have a wealth of historic buildings that must be protected to ensure that their cultural value exists going into the future. Certainly, we have seen some examples of destruction of our heritage here in this parliament. Who could forget the decision to demolish the police barracks to make way for a new hospital? A worthy endeavour, of course, to support a new hospital but a shame that the Malinauskas government set up a dichotomy between our heritage and an important public service like a hospital. We know there are many places around the world that are able to reconcile public services with ongoing respect and protection of heritage.

Let me give you some examples of what I am talking about when I talk about these buildings falling into disrepair. Romilly House, also known as Hackney Lodge, at 1 North Terrace, Hackney, has been vacant since 2017. It is now falling into disrepair and is a target for graffiti and vandalism. Edmund Wright House is an absolutely stunning building, built in 1878. It has a ballroom, it has high ceilings and balconies that overlook King William Street, it is on prime land in the CBD and it has been looking for a tenant since 2015.

North Terrace is also home to the Gawler Chambers and Newmarket Hotel, both beautiful heritage buildings that sit there empty without the love and care that they require. In April 2022, a group of historic houses in Glenelg fell into disrepair and were then demolished in order to build a 13-storey apartment tower. Heritage buildings hold intrinsic cultural, historical and architectural value for our state. They provide a tangible connection to our ancestors, who tell stories of the past, and they shape our understanding of who we are today.

When these structures are allowed to fall into decay, we lose an essential part of our state's story and we erase some valuable chapters of our history books. Heritage buildings also contribute significantly to the tourism industry and local economies. Visitors are drawn to visit historic sites, generating revenue and boosting local businesses. When these buildings are neglected, we not only compromise their preservation but we lose opportunities for economic growth and cultural exchange.

It is, of course, absurd that we have half of North Terrace vacant while we have people sleeping on the street. There is something seriously wrong about that. This bill aims to incentivise property owners to activate their buildings, either to renovate them or to make them available to the government for public good, and that could very well include housing. Back in 2015, the then planning minister, John Rau, told InDaily that:

We're concerned generally about owners of buildings in the city who just sit on those buildings, especially if they're sitting on vacant buildings, that don't invest, don't upgrade, don't make them attractive to tenants…

I'm seriously thinking about the issue of whether or not we should have some sort of disincentive built into the system for people who do that.

I agree with the minister. It is a shame that the Labor Party, which has been in power for 20 years of the last 30 years, has not dealt with this issue, but this bill is aiming to do that.

Preserving heritage buildings requires a collaborative effort between government bodies, heritage organisations and private owners. By implementing stricter deterrents we could prevent demolition by neglect and ensure that our architectural heritage is protected. State heritage listing under the Heritage Places Act has been a valuable way to protect our State Heritage Places and demonstrates that a place is worth conserving and celebrating.

Unfortunately, provisions under the act have not been enough and it is a shame that we are not seeing them being appropriately enforced because there were not the powers given to compel owners to do the right thing by these properties, and of course by the people of our state. We are still seeing owners sitting on buildings and not maintaining them to a sufficient standard.

Under section 36 of the Heritage Places Act there is a penalty of $50,000 for a person who fails to take reasonable care of a State Heritage Place, but this penalty is not enough and it is not enough of a disincentive for property owners. In 2015, the National Trust of Victoria made recommendations for dealing with demolition by neglect and one of those recommendations was to increase enforcement and penalties for allowing a heritage place to fall into disrepair.

Other jurisdictions have also started to take action on this issue. In Victoria, reforms were introduced back in 2021 that prohibit development for 10 years if owners are charged with demolition by neglect or for allowing a building to fall into disrepair. In Oregon, privately owned properties can be ceded to government or public management for preservation purposes while proprietors still retain ownership—and it is that model that we are proposing here in South Australia. In San Francisco, a $500 per day penalty applies to owners who neglect historic structures.

This bill aims to address the problem of demolition by neglect in three ways. Firstly, the bill makes clear that a heritage agreement can provide for the management, occupation or future use of the heritage site. This would allow for the government to activate the site, if it is left vacant and neglected.

Secondly, the bill imposes a much more significant penalty for intentional or reckless damage or neglect. The bill more than doubles the penalty from $120,000 to $250,000 for an individual or $500,000. It is important that the penalties for neglect are not just considered the cost of doing business for corporations who want to develop a site and make huge profits. The reality is, at the moment a large corporation could purchase a heritage building, let it be run down, knock it down and make a motza. We need to change the law so that there is actually a deterrent. In addition to increasing the penalty, the bill also includes the provision to charge a penalty per day where a property owner is not complying with a protection order. This will provide timely maintenance of heritage places.

Beyond this bill, we call on the government to make a commitment to improve heritage protection through existing legislative provisions. The government must commit to increasing the number of authorised officers to monitor and police demolition by neglect. We call on the government to introduce incentives to maintain heritage sites, which would be more of a carrot rather than a stick approach. Coupled with the provisions of this bill, there is a real opportunity for us to protect our cultural and built heritage.

Of course, it is relevant I think to refer to the Labor government's own heritage policy in the lead-up to the 2022 state election. Indeed, they say:

A large part of what makes Adelaide such a desirable city to live is the heritage and character of our suburbs.

That is a direct quote from the Labor Party's policy document in the lead-up to the 2022 election. The document goes on, and I quote again:

To ensure that demolition cannot occur at the whim of a future government, Labor will legislate to better protect State Heritage Places, including requiring a public report by the SA Heritage Council being prepared and laid in the parliament before any consideration of a demolition approval and full public consultation so that all South Australians can have their views heard.

Let's look at that again:

…Labor will legislate to better protect State Heritage Places, including requiring a public report by the SA Heritage Council being prepared and laid in the parliament before any consideration of a demolition approval and full…consultation so that all South Australians can have their views heard.

That sits in stark contrast to the approach they took in relation to the hospital where they did not bother to require a public report of the SA Heritage Council. That was jettisoned.

I would suggest referring this on to the Premier's Delivery Unit but we know what will happen if it disappears into that black hole: we will never get a report, it will disappear into the ether, there would be no minutes, no-one will know what happened and we will never hear of it again.

It is very disappointing that it has fallen on the Greens to try to enact the policy commitments of the Labor government, rather than the Labor Party themselves taking the action that is necessary to fulfil the commitments they made to the people of South Australia. It is very disappointing, very disappointing indeed. We wait eagerly for legislation from the Malinauskas government to come that fulfils the commitment they made to the people of our state at the last election to do better when it comes to management of heritage.

The principle of demolition by neglect causes issues for the protection of our state's culture and our heritage, and we need to act to ensure that there are deterrents to demolition by neglect that closely reflect the value we place on these buildings. We also need to ensure that we end this madness where we see buildings being left vacant while we have people sleeping on the street. Something has to be done, and that is what the Greens are proposing.

 

Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. I.K. Hunter.