Pages tagged "Planning and Heritage"
7 September 2022
The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (16:21): Obtained leave and introduced a bill for an act to amend the Gas Act 1997. Read a first time.
The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (16:22): I move:
That this bill be now read a second time.
This bill seeks to ban all new gas connections for new builds from 2025. We are taking this step because we are in the midst of a climate emergency in South Australia. The South Australian parliament has passed a climate emergency declaration and it is time for us to take action to transition away from dirty fossil fuels. Unless we keep global warming to below 1.5º, the IPCC claims that South Australia will see more hot days, declining rainfall, more drought and more dangerous fire conditions.
To meet climate targets we must reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and that includes natural gas. Gas is a non-renewable resource and we need to start transitioning to sources of energy that are not going to run out over time. Some argue that gas produces less emissions than coal and should be used as a transition fuel source, and it is true that gas is less emitting than coal, but if we power our electricity grid with renewables rather than coal, electricity is a far cleaner option. The Grattan Institute states:
The transition fuel argument should not distract from the fact that Australia, and the rest of the world, must consume less gas over time to reduce the effects of climate change.
Fifty-six per cent of South Australian homes are connected to gas. As a non-renewable resource, gas is going to increase in price as supply reduces. The Grattan Institute report indicated that gas prices will climb in the coming year, putting extra pressure on families who are locked into gas connections in their home.
Renewable energy is now seen as substantially cheaper to produce than natural gas, with prices continuing to fall; therefore, our best solution for household energy needs is to transition to solar and wind to reduce emissions rather than relying on gas and non-renewable fossil fuel. This bill starts the process by banning future connections from January 2025.
I understand that only 7 per cent of South Australians use gas for cooking, but many cooks and chefs have now publicly stated that they are turning to induction cooking, given it is superior in terms of precision and speed. I will have to take their word on that. I am not renowned for my cooking skills, but I have heard that the induction cooktop is a lot better.
I commend the Malinauskas government's commitment to green hydrogen as an alternative fuel source, but the reality is we are not yet in a position where we can pump green hydrogen through the existing gas network, so what we really need to be doing is banning gas connections for new builds. I do not intend to provide much further detail on this bill at this point because you will be hearing a bit from me over the next little while. With that, I conclude my remarks.
Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. I.K. Hunter.
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.
19 May 2022
The Hon. R.A. SIMMS:
I rise to speak in relation to the Heritage Places (Adelaide Park Lands) Amendment Bill, and I will keep this brief; I am conscious that members are probably sick of hearing my voice today. This is a very important bill. It seeks to add the Parklands to the list of South Australia's State Heritage Areas.
Members will recall I introduced an identical bill into the last parliament, and I was really delighted to see all political parties in this place come on board and support it. I am hoping that spirit will continue when this bill is brought to a vote in a coming parliamentary session. The Adelaide Parklands are an iconic and cherished part of our city. Adelaide remains the only city in the world surrounded by park; in fact, the world's first public park. Seven hundred hectares of park remain, but we must work hard to ensure that this unique part of our city is not lost. We know with our public green space that once it is gone we can never get it back.
In 2008, the Parklands received National Heritage listing by the then Minister for the Environment, the Hon. Peter Garrett MP. In 2009, the process 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 heritage recognition at a state level. Thirteen years on, we are still waiting.
A process of public consultation commenced in 2017, and it featured a record number of submissions in support of the state heritage listing. In 2018, the then state Liberal government committed to including the Parklands on the state heritage list following a recommendation of the state Heritage Council, yet here we are in 2022 and South Australians are still wondering when we will see our beautiful, rare, city green spaces included on the state heritage list.
The Parklands are subject to slow erosion. Often we do not even notice that it is happening, but the Parklands were once 930 hectares and are now only 700 hectares. They continue to shrink. Each successive generation loses a little bit more, and there is no way to fight it, no mechanism to reclaim it. That is why legislation like this is so important. The Malinauskas government has axed the former government's plan to build a stadium on our precious Parklands. We welcome this decision, but we need to do more to protect our green, open public spaces that circle the city.
State and World Heritage listings would send governments of both persuasions a clear message that the Parklands are iconic and they should not be the plaything of developers and vested interests. Our Parklands should not be for sale. The Adelaide Park Lands Management Strategy, which was endorsed by the Weatherill Labor government back in 2015, calls to maintain the culture and heritage of the Parklands through World Heritage listing. The Greens are supportive of those efforts, and we see this bill as being an important step.
The bill is a very simple one. All it seeks to do is include the Parklands on the state heritage list—something that is a prerequisite for a World Heritage listing consideration, I suggest. The Parklands are for everybody. The benefits are for all of us to enjoy. If our federal government can recognise their significance through heritage listing, why can't we? South Australians know how precious our Parklands are. They are the envy of cities around the world. We cannot wait any longer to protect our cultural, historic, Indigenous and environmental heritage through a bill such as this.
As I say, it was really encouraging to see the widespread support for this bill in the last parliament and I am hopeful that members will get on board with this bill when it comes to a vote in coming parliamentary sessions. With that, I conclude my remarks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
State Administration Centre,
200 Victoria Square, Adelaide, South Australia 5000
(08) 8429 3232 / [email protected]
Peter Malinauskas MP
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!
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.
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.
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.