Welcome to my latest newsletter! At Tuesday night’s meeting we discussed a range of matters including the future of the controversial pontoon, the date of Australia Day and a push for the old Le Cornu site to be considered as an alternative location for the Adelaide Oval Hotel. The outcomes are summarised below.
The Riverbank Pontoon
After hearing passionate arguments from Councillors Moran and Martin, Council unanimously voted against any extension to the pontoon’s lease. This means the pontoon will be used for this Adelaide Festival only and the lease will expire at the end of April.
I recognise there are diverse views on this matter. In the end, I voted in favour of ending the lease as I do not believe the pontoon has ever lived up to community expectations. Many in the community have been dissatisfied with the site and the commercialisation of our public space that has occurred outside of the festival season.
A Hotel for 88 O’Connell Street?
Councillor Moran moved “that Council request that Council’s Reference Group ask the EOI proponents for 88 O’Connell Street, to consider that the site be used by the SMA for the development of a hotel.”
I supported the motion as it was simply encouraging the consideration of the old Le Cornu site site, as an alternative to the deeply unpopular Adelaide Oval Hotel, which has been proposed for public land. In the end, the motion was defeated with a majority of Councillors expressing concern that Councillor Moran’s motion could undermine the expressions of interest process that is already in train. Councillor Martin and I voted in support of Councillor Morans’ motion.
Transport on the LGA’s agenda
Councillor Donovan moved that Council:
- Approves submission of the following Proposed Item of Business to the Greater Adelaide Regional Organisation of Councils for consideration for inclusion on the agenda of the LGA Ordinary General Meeting:
1.1. The Ordinary General Meeting requests that the LGA:
- Establishes a local government sector advocacy group with the intent to:
- Keep informed of current and future trends in movement and transport strategies, with relevance to metropolitan Adelaide and regions across the state
- Identify priority movement and transport projects, with a key focus on mobility sharing, cycling, walking and public transport
- Identify strategic, capital and operational funding opportunities at all levels of government as well as seek partnerships to deliver strategies and projects
- Ensure movement and transport strategies are aligned and cohesive across council areas
- Discuss opportunities to partner on projects, cross-promote and share information, ideas, and learnings.
- Membership could include all councils who elect to sign up to the group, the LGA, as well as representatives from the State Government (eg DPTI and ODASA).
- The scope could include discussion of a metropolitan Adelaide without boundaries, and assisting councils and other key stakeholders (eg RAA, Bike SA, BISA, AILA, Engineers Australia, Property Council etc) to create, influence and implement:
- Major projects
- Climate change adaptation
- Green infrastructure provision
- Customer centricity
- Business cases and the process for Infrastructure Australia (IA)
- Consistent approaches to design and infrastructure
- Consistent approaches to transport mode integration.’
The motion was carried unanimously and I’m excited about this opportunity for greater collaboration across Council regions on transport matters.
Council calls for greater refugee intake
Councillor Donovan moved that Council:
“1. Notes that globally, 65 million people are now forcibly displaced – including more than 22 million refugees, and wealthy countries like Australia need to create more opportunities for safe, legal and supported entry, and one evidence-based way to do this is through community-led sponsorship;
- Recognises the significant success of the ‘gold standard’ community-led refugee sponsorship in Canada, in which tens of thousands of refugees have been successfully sponsored by the community, and through this community support have learned the new local language faster, found jobs faster and in greater numbers, and formed stronger bonds within their new communities than non-community supported refugees;
- Supports an expansion and improvement to the Australian Government’s version of this program, the Community Sponsorship Program; and
- Requests that the Lord Mayor write to the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, calling on the federal government to improve and expand the Community Sponsorship Program to ensure the program:
- Does not take places from others in need
- Provides adequate support and services
- Limits the costs on sponsors
- Allows community, family and businesses to act as sponsors
- Creates more places for people in need of protection to settle in Australia.”
I seconded the motion and was delighted to see it pass unanimously. In my view, Council has a leadership role to play on these matters and many Councils across the country have already been advocating for an expansion of the program. Given the immorality of Australia’s mandatory detention policy, which allows innocent people to languish on island prisons, anything that increases opportunities for refugees to come to Australia in safety should be supported.
Change the Date?
This year there has been increased momentum for changing the date of Australia Day in recognition of the great injustices done to Aboriginal people beginning on January 26.
My personal view has always been that the date should change and our national day should be held at a time when all Australians can celebrate. To persist in celebrating Australia Day on a date that is associated with so much suffering for Aboriginal people, seems grossly insensitive and insulting.
Councillor Martin proposed that Council ask the Reconcilitation Committee its view on the matter. He moved:
Following the lead of the Australia Day Council in South Australia inviting Kaurna representatives to lead our City’s street parade last month with a banner proclaiming “Change the Date”, asks its Reconciliation Committee to recommend if the City of Adelaide should;
1) begin a discussion about the way Australia Day is celebrated
2) with whom and how that discussion should be conducted, and
3) the issues associated with changing the date from January 26th, including proposals for alternative days.”
Unfortunately the motion was lost. Councillors Donovan, Abrihimzadeh, Martin and I all voted in favour.
Assisting the city’s homeless
A new website has been launched to assist with referring people in need to support services.
If you see someone who is sleeping rough in the city or the parklands, you may wish to refer them to Street Connect. You can do this through the new website: www.streetconnect.sa.gov.au
The wensite allows you to pinpoint someone’s exact location, so that support workers can find them and offer assistance.
If someone is in immediate danger, please call 000.
If I can assist you with a local issue, please do not hesitate to contact me on: R.Simms@adelaidecitycouncil.com.au or 0466 829 909.
I am based in Town Hall on Tuesdays. If you would like to arrange a time to meet please let me know!
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Please note, the views in this newsletter are my own and do not purport to be those of Adelaide City Council.