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SA election: city forgotten « Previous | |Next »
March 17, 2010

The state government planning documents of our cities that aim to direct or shape growth usually talk in terms of “strong communities” and “smart growth” to build a successful city. Peter Spearritt in Trouble in the city at Inside Story says that:

If you want to find out what is happening in Australia’s cities today, don’t go to the well-doctored planning glossies. You would be much better advised to attend a major railway station at peak hour, sit in a freeway traffic jam thirty kilometres out of town, bid at a house auction or inspect the abandoned excavation for a failed inner-city office block or apartment tower. Thank goodness the “Rudd Bank” never got up, otherwise we’d have an even greater rash of energy-intensive buildings that require us to burn coal merely to allow their occupants to move from floor to floor.

Fair comment. But you also need to go and look at the state of our rivers since cities require water to function.

In South Australia water is an issue in the forthcoming state election. The current catchcry is “waterproofing” our city, which means cutting Adelaide's dependence on the dying River Murray. The Rann Government's water proofing strategy is desalinisation plants whilst the Liberal's waterproofing strategy is storm water retention. And so they fight and squabble over which is the best plan.

Don't we need both if Adelaide is going to become a sustainable city?

We do not hear much about creating more public spaces for reflection, for gathering, for contemplation; more trees and greenery in Adelaide's inner city; Victoria Square being better used as a public space; less cars in the city; or making the city area the vibrant cultural heart of the city. The future of Adelaide is a green economy hub – with renewable energy and good public transport at the centre.

The most plausible scenario is still that there is a strong statewide swing to the Liberals, Labor will lose seats (possibly 5), that it will lose its majority and face a hung parliament and the independents will hold the balance of power. If the independents do end up holding the balance of power, then they decide whether Labor or the Liberals govern the state for the next four years. William Bowie differs--he tips a one-seat Labor majority for the third state election in a row.

It is disappointing that I see no desire amongst the independents to change South Australia's electoral system to a Hare-Clark one which is far more democratic. Democracy is not really an issue in SA.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:28 AM | | Comments (4)


Water is a big issue in Adelaide. The reason is that only seventeen years ago, Adelaide relied on the Murray for just 10 per cent of its water; rain-filled dams in the Adelaide Hills provided most of the rest. Now, after the worst drought in a century, the city depends on the Murray for 90 per cent. The Murray isn't flowing these days. The flow of sufficient water down the Murray to meet Adelaide's “critical human needs” can not be guaranteed.

The Rann Government has been claiming in the last day or so that Premier Rann has cut a deal with other states (NSW and Queensland) for a share of the floodwaters now making their way down the Darling River. This is good news electorally for Labor and they bask in the spotlight of their key role in making co-operative federalism work for SA on water issues.

The trouble is that there is no deal or written agreement. All that ther eis is that SA will receive its entitlements. Period.

Another example of the Rann spin machine.

I hope that the Independents ---Bob Such( Fisher), Kris Hanna ( Mitchell) Geoff Brock (Frome) --are comfortably returned to help force a hung parliament. They would help force the establishment of a state-based independent commission against corruption that Labor bitterly resists.

While they are at it the Independents could help reform Parliament. Parliament no longer plays a proper role in state affairs and there is a sense that the spinning Rann Government has become dictatorial.