(It was an honour to represent the Lord Mayor at the naming of Denise Norton Park outside of the Adelaide Aquatic Centre. Denise is the first South Australian to participate in the Commonwealth and Olympic Games).
This has been a busy month on Council, with ongoing debates about the parklands, improvements to Council’s procurement policies, a boost for childcare and the finalisation of our draft budget for consultation.
The helipad returns?
On the 9th of April, Councillor Philip Martin proposed that Council state its “implacable opposition” to any helipad on the Parklands following media reports that the idea may soon return to Council’s agenda.
I know that the community are strongly opposed to public land being used in this way. As I said at the meeting (reported by The Advertiser):
“When you talk to residents in the city, I can assure you that they don’t want to see the parklands being used for joy rides by the mega rich.”
Unfortunately, Councillor Martin’s motion was unsuccessful with just Councillors Moran, Donovan, Hyde and I joining Councillor Martin in support. I will continue to stand with the community in opposing any future proposal to commercialise our parklands with a helipad.
Crows on the Parklands?
On the 9th of April, I moved that Council:
“- notes that an unsolicited proposal has been received from the Adelaide Football Club relating to the establishment of a Sports and Community Centre on the Adelaide Parklands
– Requests that administration arrange a public consultation (including a community forum in North Adelaide) to hear the views of residents and businesses on this.”
I am disappointed that many residents would only have learnt about this proposal through the announcement from the Federal Government that they will provide $15 million to support the Crows’ new centre. Given the Crows’ proposal relates to public land, it is only right that the community is engaged early on, before any concept is developed.
Unfortunately, my motion was opposed with just Councillors Martin and Moran backing my push for community consultation at this stage. I will continue to fight for the community to have their voice heard.
Fighting to secure the City Connector Bus
The future of the City Connector Bus has been in doubt with news that the State Government are reviewing the service. On the 9th of April, I moved that Council reiterate its support for the service in this Council budget and call on the State Government to continue to contribute. The motion was carried unanimously with an amendment from Councillor Simon Hou, asking Council to look at alternative routes and funding sources in the event that the Government fails to support the service.
The State Government have been cutting bus services throughout the state and I don’t want to see this happen in Adelaide. The City Connector Bus is a vital service for many city residents and visitors I’m committed to ensuring that it is protected.
At a Committee meeting on the 17th of April, Council discussed its approach to negotiations with the government around the service. I moved an amendment, ensuring that we advocate for the service to remain free of charge. As I told the meeting (reported in The Advertiser): If we ‘let the user pay’ genie out of the bottle, there is no putting it back in.” You can read more here.
Council pushes for more money for mental health and homelessness
Sadly, homelessness is an ongoing issue in the City of Adelaide. Leadership is required from all levels of government to address this. On Tuesday night Council voted unanimously in favour of a motion from Councillor Mary Couros requesting that the Lord Mayor write to the Human Services Minister asking for increased funding for homelessness and mental health support.
I commented in the meeting (as quoted in InDaily) that the federal government should also be asked to step up and build more public housing in our city:
“The Federal government gifted $15 million to the [Adelaide] Crows. Imagine what they could do with this money -dealing with homelessness in the city of Adelaide. There are some big opportunities for all levels of government to show initiative.”
Given the increased poverty and homelessness we face in our city, is the funding for the Crows really the best way for the federal government to be spending tax paper money in Adelaide?
Time to ban corflutes from the CBD and North Adelaide?
Election season is here again! I know that many residents are sick to death of seeing corflutes (plastic signage) on our city streets. These signs are not just visual pollution of our public space, if not recycled appropriately they are also potentially damaging to our environment (using plastics and cable ties). SA is unique in having these signs on stobie polls on public streets.
The recent local government elections saw more corflutes than ever before. This leads to an arms race between candidates and at around $7 a sign, this can potentially price out candidates with limited financial resources. As part of Council’s submission on the State Government’s Local Government Reforms, I proposed that a cap be imposed on spending by council candidates. This would level the playing field for all and partially address the corflute issue. Unfortunately this was not supported by a majority of Council.
Last night, I proposed that “Council investigate options for prohibiting election signage (eg: corflutes) from streets in the city and North Adelaide for future election campaigns.” Administration advised that the CEO could write to the State Government to advance this. Unfortunately the move was opposed by a majority of Council, with Councillors Hyde, Donovan, Moran and Martin voting in support. You can read more about my motion here.
Time for the Parklands to be World Heritage Listed?
Last night, Council approved $100,000 to begin investigating World Heritage listing for the Park Lands and City Plan. These are currently included on the national list, but this is an exciting opportunity to see our parklands recognised internationally. Given the many benefits that would flow for our city I was very pleased to support this recommendation.
Supporting social enterprises in the city
Council has a significant operating budget of more than $200 million dollars so who we do business with has a significant impact. At last night’s meeting, I proposed that we include ‘social benefit’ as criteria in Council’s procurement policies and guidelines, potentially giving favourable consideration to businesses that support people living with disability and or social disadvantage. I know that there are a number of social enterprises operating in the City of Adelaide and it makes sense that we do what we can to support their work. The motion was carried unanimously and a report will be provided to Council in October.
During my last term of Council, I secured support for the inclusion of sustainability in Council’s procurement policies and have a long term interest in ensuring our work is both socially and environmentally responsible.
Boosting childcare in Adelaide
Adelaide is a great place to live and work but more can be done to encourage young families to move into the city. On Tuesday night, Councillor Anne Moran proposed that “Council start discussions with the State Government about changing planning laws to allow childcares in multistorey buildings… and explore opportunities to work with private developers as part of the push.” The decision was reported in The Advertiser. It was terrific to see this motion win unanimous support from the Council.
Council knocks back guiding principles push
Councillor Phil Martin proposed a series of matters be considered as part of a workshop to develop guiding principles for the Crows’ proposal. This included consideration of issues such as whether Council would entertain removing vegetation and the use of ratepayer’s funds. Unfortunately, there was insufficient time to discuss the motion in detail as Councillor Abrihimzadeh moved that it be put before debate concluded. Councillor Martin’s motion was defeated with Councillors Moran, Donovan and I voting in support of his proposal.
Draft budget out for consultation!
Council’s draft budget for 2019-2020 will be open for consultation from 8 May until 29 May 2019. Details on how you can get involved will be provided here. Please do take up this opportunity to have your say!
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.