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politics SA style « Previous | |Next »
June 4, 2010

Politics in South Australia is mostly about management---competent and relatively mistake-free administration----of the economy and the consequences of globalization on manufacturing and the industrial working class The big issues of the day are never about the place of South Australia in a globalized world or making Adelaide more sustainable.

They are about rebuilding a public hospital or a sports stadium. These issues stand in, or a re placeholders, for the revitalization of a rust bucket industrial city with a declining manufacturing base.


It is the proposed redevelopment of the Adelaide Oval that is the current hot button issue. Should it be done? Is it being done on the cheap? Has Treasurer 'slash and burn' Foley mislead everyone about knowing that the estimates of project costs were in excess of the $450 million Government commitment? Should Foley resign?

David Nason in The Australian puts the standard case that what is best for football is not necessarily what is best for South Australia.

Adelaide has a wonderful old-style food market and some March Madness fizz with a bike race, car race and an arts festival that's holding its own.But after that Adelaide doesn't give Croweaters too much to crow about. No amount of government cheering can hide the fact that Adelaide's business culture is flat, its street culture essentially bogan and young people are still dying to get out.

Fair enough. Adelaide is is need of revitalization and urban regeneration. Nason's solution is a sports stadium in the city:
footy's long-overdue relocation to the city from the outer suburban wasteland of West Lakes holds the promise of a renaissance...the influx of 50,000 local and interstate footy fans each weekend for seven months a year is a massive opportunity...If the sporting experience is classy....investors will turn Adelaide's sleazy and near-derelict west end into a totally modern city experience with exciting new shops, restaurants and hotels. And once all this is established, bigger businesses will look more favourably on Adelaide and what it has to offer.

It's the footy fans who will give Adelaide a vibrant CBD--not the people who live in the city and the business that service their needs. It is the opposite to Richard Florida's creative class urban development.

The trouble with sports-led urban regeneration is that such redevelopment is being done on the cheap by the Rann Government. The numbers don't stack up to rebuild a 50,000-seat stadium to host AFL, World Cup soccer and cricket for $450m. Another problem is that the sports stadium will take all the money away from other projects to help revitalize the CBD, such as redesigning Victoria Square.

More seriously though, urban regeneration comes from increasing the people who live in the CBD as opposed to just dropping in once a week for a few hours. Adelaide's sleazy and near-derelict west end is changing due to increasing numbers of people living there and the large numbers of international students. Football and cricket place their own interests first and have little concern for the more substanbive need to reinvigorate the city.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:56 AM | | Comments (6)


Labor won the election so the now has its mandate to redevelop Adelaide Oval and build the new hospital. Can football and cricket design a multi-purpose stadium which meets the State Government's $450 million budget - and is still significantly profitable for the teams that play at the new Adelaide Oval, in particular the Adelaide Football Club.

There has been four-decade-long cold war between the SA Cricket Association and SA National Football League which shared Adelaide Oval as their sports' headquarters until the end of 1973.

The Rann Government's position is that sport in South Australia is more than football.It includes cricket and soccer. As Graham Cornes points out the modernization of Adelaide Oval needs football:

It [the government] will not waste such an enormous amount of money on a sport that can't even fill Hindmarsh Stadium, a beautiful little soccer ground. It will not give cricket all that money to modernise Adelaide Oval when cricket rarely fills the Oval.

Cornes points out that there is a strong school of thought that football should not sell its soul for a one-off payment of $450 million that the government is offering to develop Adelaide Oval (on the proviso that AFL is played there).

Sorry, the thing leaves me cold. That half a billion should be spent on a new sport stadium in a city already well catered for in this regard, is beyond belief for me. arent Modbury and Flinders due for upgrades, or the Queen Liz?
If there is a half a billion spare, why not put into all into the medical system.
Am going to be rubbished as old fashioned, but I really think half a billion spent on a sports arena in a world where a billion people starve on a dollar a day or less utterly ridiculous and only a sign of how out of touch with reality the average western democracy and westerners are.

the development boosters see Adelaide as a stagnant retirement village--a new city stadium means progress and development. Why cannot Adelaide be like Melbourne and become exciting? It can if it has an city stadium with a roof.

And Labor's dominant Right faction says it is solidly behind Treasurer Foley, who continues to promise to give Adelaide the best sports stadium in Australia outside the MCG whilst also saying it has to be done on the cheap.

The trouble is that South Australia continues to lag well behind every other mainland state in population growth, and young professionals continue to flee to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

But we have gone from 4 mines to 11, under Rann Labor, did you know? And Rann says that they are putting their shoulder to the wheel to get $44 billion worth of defence projects.

Treasurer Foley looks to be damaged goods to me. No doubt he will survive.

When was the last time that the Adelaide Oval was at full capacity?
How many times has this occurred in the past 5 years?
There may be a giggle within this exercise if you were to be a journalist and pursue it.