Speech

Legislative Council

MOTION: Adelaide Parklands

November 16th, 2016

On the 16th of November 2016, Mark moved a motion to disallow the Adelaide Park Lands Lease Agreement between the Corporation of the City of Adelaide and the South Australian Cricket Association.

The Hon. M.C. PARNELL: This is an unusual motion because we do not often see these leases presented to parliament. I thought I would, at the outset, explain for members' benefit why it is that we have this issue before us and what the role of parliament is in relation to these matters. Under section 21 of the Adelaide Park Lands Act, it basically says that the Adelaide City Council can grant leases and licences to organisations or individuals in relation to areas of the parkland, but there are some limits on what can be done. Section 21(1) of the act provides:

(1) The maximum term for which the Adelaide City Council may grant or renew a lease or licence over land in the Adelaide Park Lands is 42 years…

The lease that has been tabled is precisely that: it is a 42-year lease—a term of 21 years with a further extension of 21 years. Section 21(2) of the act provides:

(2) However, before the Council grants (or renews) a lease or licence over land in the Park Lands for a term of 10 years or more (taking into account any right of renewal), the Council must submit copies of the lease or licence to the Presiding Members of both Houses of Parliament.

Mr President, that happened. The Adelaide City Council presented to you, as President, a copy of the lease. Section 21(3) provides:

(3) The Presiding Members of the Houses of Parliament must, within 6 sitting days after receiving a copy of a lease or licence under subsection (2), lay the copy before their respective Houses.

Subsection (4) provides:

(4) A House of Parliament may resolve to disallow the grant or renewal of a lease or licence pursuant to a notice of motion given in the House within 14 sitting days after a copy of the lease or licence is laid before the House under subsection (3).

This section concludes with subsection (5) providing:

(5) The Council may only grant or renew a lease or licence within the ambit of subsection (2) if the time for disallowance has passed and neither House of Parliament has passed a resolution disallowing its granting or renewal.

I know that is a lot of technical information to put on the record, but the nuts and bolts of it is this: until the Legislative Council, in this case, resolves whether or not it is happy with the lease that is proposed to be granted to the South Australian Cricket Association, the lease cannot be entered into. That is what the act says. It does not say, as with other disallowable instruments such as regulations, that the lease comes into existence, operates lawfully and is only ended when a disallowance motion is passed. It actually says that they cannot sign a lease until this house has dealt with it.

My reason for putting this on the record now is to enable what I hope are some fairly rapid negotiations between some of the key stakeholders. First of all, those key stakeholders are the South Australian Cricket Association; secondly, the Adelaide City Council; and thirdly, and importantly, the Adelaide Park Lands Preservation Association, because it is at their request that I have moved this disallowance motion today.

I could have waited, if I had wanted to, until the last sitting week, and that would effectively have guaranteed that nothing could happen in relation to this lease for three months. It is not my desire to unreasonably and unnecessarily delay some of the things that the South Australian Cricket Association say they want to do, but my position is that until some serious questions have been answered and we explore whether there are any amendments that might be possible to the lease, I am not prepared to just let this go through to the wicketkeeper, as it were.

What is unclear from the Adelaide Park Lands Act is whether any changes to the lease or licence would require a re-notification to both houses of parliament or whether it would be possible to simply deal with the matter in relation to the one disallowance motion. I will take some advice from the Clerk and maybe elsewhere to see what the situation is, but my hope would be that we could amend some parts of the lease by negotiation. Whether that is possible, I do not know; I have not discussed this with the South Australian Cricket Association. I have put this on the agenda now because I have only just become aware that the document was in fact tabled in parliament. It was tabled at a time when I was not here, otherwise I am sure I would have picked it up.

So, let's go to the merits of the issue. The Adelaide Park Lands Preservation Association made an extensive submission to the Adelaide City Council in relation to this lease. The land that we are talking about is Park 25, known as Narnungga. That park is probably best known to members as the one on the left-hand side as you go along North Terrace, where North Terrace and West Terrace merge, then—

An honourable member interjecting:

The Hon. M.C. PARNELL: I hear a member interjecting that the railway workers used to play cricket there. I think Old Ignatians Football Club plays there, and I think SACA have used that land for some time as well. So, that is the land we are talking about. The concerns of the Adelaide Park Lands Preservation Association are sixfold, and I want to briefly run through what they are. Their first concern is that it is an excessively long lease, and the submission of the Adelaide Park Lands Preservation Association states:

This proposal 'locks up' a very significant acreage of Park Lands for use by SACA for 42 years, beyond 2050. Effectively, the general community will be excluded from the whole of Park 25, so that SACA can take it over for cricket, with some limited use of one oval for football during winter. There will be extremely limited public access. The lease provisions for public access are so loose as to be almost worthless. The truth is that all of Park 25 is proposed to be exclusively controlled and managed by SACA, there is no effective provisions in the draft lease that gives any assurance of public access nor 'community sports experience'. There is no public benefit to this proposal. This is an extraordinary proposal which must be modified if it is to go ahead at all. At the same time as consideration of this proposal, in contrast, the Management Strategy provides that: the 'West Park Lands Precinct shall primarily be devoted to accessible informal open space including community recreation and open woodlands.'

That is the first of the Park Lands Preservation Association's concerns—an excessively long lease. Their second concern is that this lease is contrary to the Park Lands Management Strategy which is a document, as members would know, that is prepared under the act. The strategy basically says that the priority for Park 25 is as follows:

Deliver a high quality formal park in Park 25 that is comfortable, aesthetically pleasing and provides amenity and attractions to appeal to residents and workers from the City's west, and the broader community and that integrates with a community sporting hub providing a place of tranquillity and contemplation for staff, patients and visitors to the hospital and staff, students and visitors to the University's City West campus. Additional recreational opportunities will be created to serve the anticipated growth in residents in the north-west of the CBD.

That is the quote from the Park Lands Management Strategy. It refers to the fact that very close to this site is going to be the new Royal Adelaide Hospital, and this is the park to which people— presumably, visitors and patients—will retire when they are out from the hospital enjoying some open space and getting some air. The question that the Park Lands Preservation Association raises is: why is this lease being entered into contrary to the Park Lands Management Strategy? As they say, the lease provides for 'exclusive use' and the Park Lands Management Strategy provides for 'community use'.

The third consideration is inadequate provision for cycle linkages connecting park 25 to adjoining parks. Again, according to the submission from the Adelaide Park Lands Preservation Association:

This proposal neglects to make proper provision for cycle connections. The consultation documents do not show any at all.

Again, the association refers to the management strategy, which calls for:

…re-orienting and improving the existing path network, with lighting and pleasant areas in which to sit, reflect and relax…provide pedestrians and cyclists with safe, convenient linkages to the park from the new RAH and Hindley Street in the east and from Thebarton and Mile End to the west.

According to the Park Lands Preservation Association, the requirements of the management strategy are neglected in this lease and they want to see that rectified. The fourth concern is in relation to car parking on the Parklands. Again, the APPA submission says:

This proposal includes permanent parking space for 136 cars. This is by far the largest car park in the Park Lands, excepting only temporary parking for the Royal Agricultural & Horticultural Society of SA. In the documentation, the only justification given is that there are already parking spaces in the vicinity on Park Lands. However it must be recognised that the existing spaces do not appear to have approval. They have been allowed to occur informally: 'ad hoc and unsightly.'

The fifth concern of the Park Lands Preservation Association is the inadequacy of the documentation that is provided, firstly, within the consultation documents and, secondly, within the lease itself. For example, as part of this lease there is proposed to be a new three-storey building. However, according to the association, there is no floor plan provided of the proposed building included in the documents, just some generalised perspectives and a complicated section drawing.

There appear to be no public accessible toilets, and I note the contribution we heard earlier from the Hon. Kelly Vincent. I would have thought that there can be no excuse whatsoever for allowing a new facility, being built in the Parklands in the year 2017, which is designed for the benefit of the community, including people coming from the hospital, to not have accessible toilets. I would have thought that is a no-brainer. It may be that certain assurances can be given, but certainly it does not appear to be within the documents provided in relation to the building that is proposed to be put there.

The sixth objection raised by the association is that the proposed new building is contrary to the development plan. As members know, that is the document that basically sets out the criteria for development in all parts of South Australia. There are at least four provisions in the development plan that speak against the type of development that is proposed. At least, that is the claim of the Adelaide Park Lands Preservation Association: that this SACA building is inconsistent with at least four provisions of the development plan. For example, principle of development control No. 280 states:

Development should ensure that the desired character and environment of the Park Lands Zone is enhanced and reinforced by…

(f) a reduction in building floor areas, fenced and hard paved areas;

If this proposal actually is for an increase in building floor area, an increase in exclusive area— whether or not it is fenced, we do not yet know—and certainly an increase in hard paved areas, it would certainly seem to infringe that principle of development control.

Principle No. 286 says, 'Development should not further restrict public access to land within the Parklands, including access for people with disabilities.' So, again, the case being pursued by the Adelaide Parklands Preservation Association is that more work is needed to make sure that whatever SACA does build on that site complies with these provisions, which we have to remember are provisions that apply to all development in the Parklands, whether it is by government, a sporting association or, heaven help us, private developers. They mention a number of other provisions where they say that the proposal is contrary to those provisions: that includes principle of development control No. 287 and 289.

As I have said, my interest is to try to resolve this matter quickly. I have tried to be as responsible as I can by putting it on the agenda at the first opportunity after I became aware of it. I will now be making contact with the South Australian Cricket Association, I will be talking to the Adelaide Parklands Preservation Association and to the city council. We only have a small amount of time to see whether we can resolve this before the next week of sitting, but I note that this is one of those remarkable provisions where this is my motion, it is on private member's day and it is not open to the government to step in and say, 'We're just going to kill this.'

It is on the agenda and I am seeking to resolve it as quickly as I can. If it cannot be resolved before Christmas, the lease cannot be signed before Christmas and no work can be undertaken on Park 25 until parliament resumes in February, or March, or whenever we finally deal with this. So, effectively, I want to make clear to members that, if we cannot resolve this quickly, then nothing will happen over summer.

I do not yet know what time frame SACA has for building this new building. They might just say that it's their way or the highway. If so, that will be disappointing. But, I am hoping we can get some sort of round table, get all the stakeholders together and see whether there are any changes that might be able to be made to the lease and to the proposal for the new building in Park 25.


On the 30th of November 2016, Mark moved to discharge the motion of disallowance on the Adelaide Park Lands Lease Agreement between the Corporation of the City of Adelaide and the South Australian Cricket Association, following his Motion of Disallowance on 17th November 2016.

The Hon. M.C. PARNELL: I will very shortly move that this item be discharged, but
I want to put on the record the resolution that was reached in a roundtable meeting with the South
Australian Cricket Association and the Adelaide City Council. As I suggested I would do when I
moved this motion, I immediately rang the chief executive of SACA and also the Adelaide City Council
and invited them to come into parliament for a roundtable meeting.

It is probably not stretching it too far to say that SACA was surprised that the arrangements
they thought they had reached were now being questioned in parliament, but I reminded them that
that is what the legislation says. It says that any lease of land for more than 10 years must be tabled
in both houses of parliament and that either house can move disallowance. In fact, it is a blunt
instrument, because disallowance is the only tool, but having moved that motion, the parties then
very quickly realised that it was in everyone's interests to come into parliament, sit down with the
Adelaide Park Lands Preservation Association and talk turkey.

As a result of that roundtable meeting, a number of matters were clarified and resolved. It is
probably fair to say that some of them fell into the category of understanding. When I say
understanding, there were things that the South Australian Cricket Association said they intended to
do that might not have actually been reflected in the lease. So, the solution that was reached was,
rather than revise the lease and potentially risk having to have it retabled in state parliament, what
has happened is the Adelaide City Council has drafted a letter. That has been endorsed by the South
Australian Cricket Association, and I just want to quickly put the terms of that letter onto the public
record so we can proceed with other business. The letter from the Adelaide City Council is under the
hand of Mark Goldstone, Chief Executive. It states:

Dear Hon Mr Parnell

I refer to your meeting last week at Parliament House with representatives of Council and the SACA.
I understand from that meeting that there were a number of queries expressed in relation to the operational
scope of the lease for the Adelaide Park Lands proposed to be entered into between Council and SACA currently
before both Houses of Parliament.

For the purposes of addressing these operational queries we set out below a series of responses which it is
hoped will provide clarity in relation to those matters.

1. Toilet facilities

The toilet facilities to be constructed within the new improvements by SACA will be available for
use by the public during the times those improvements are staffed by SACA. However this
arrangement will not continue once public toilet facilities are constructed on or near the lease
premises.

2. Development concept

The proposed development has recently been granted development plan consent. It is understood
by SACA that any material change in the external appearance (which would include an increase in
the height and/or the footprint of the proposed development) would require further approval by
Council.

It is further recognised by SACA that additional approval may also require Council to undertake
additional public consultation with regards to that variation before any building works would be able
to proceed.

3. Car park arrangements

The car park immediately adjacent to the leased area (containing the new building to be constructed
by SACA) is not the subject of the lease (or licence) arrangements.
Whilst SACA has committed to construct the new car park, this will remain an area under Council's
care and control. Council has committed to consult with SACA in relation to the development of a
car park management plan for this area.

4. Access to licence areas

In conjunction with the area being leased (containing the new building), SACA is being granted a
licence for the four (4) fields which surround the leased premises.
It has always been understood by SACA that these are to remain open fields and (for the most part)
available to be accessed by members of the public. However there are instances when SACA would
be entitled to temporarily restrict that public access. This would be necessary:

  • to protect the field and/or the cricket pitches located within the licensed area;
  • if the fields were being used and accessed in a manner which would have constituted a degree
    of frequency of use for which Council would ordinarily have been required to grant some form
    of licence (or approve a sub-licence);
  • if some form of temporary fencing may be required to protect the safety of persons (for example
    nets located around practice pitches to protect persons from being struck by a cricket ball); or
  • in relation to an event or function being held on or adjacent to the licensed area in accordance
    with the licence area permitted use.

To ensure there are appropriate operational protocols and controls established in relation to these
matters, SACA has undertaken that: 

  • it will install signs in a form and containing information reasonably required by Council to inform the public of these use arrangements; and
  • any access restrictions will only be implemented after consultation and with the consent of Council (acting reasonably).

SACA has confirmed its understanding of these matters (including the use and management of the licence
areas) as set out in this letter. Further in support of this, we attach a letter from SACA confirming these arrangements and undertakings to ensure these areas are managed in this manner. It is understood by Council (and SACA) that this correspondence may be relied upon as confirmation of these arrangements.

Thank you for interest and input into this project and your commitment to facilitate final negotiations between all parties concerned. If you have any queries, please contact Mike Philippou, Associate Director Property…

Mark Goldstone

Chief Executive

Adelaide City Council

As that letter referred to, I received on the same day, yesterday, a letter from SACA, under the
signature of Keith Bradshaw, Chief Executive. I will not read the whole letter, but just one paragraph.
It states:

We write to confirm on behalf of SACA the matters set out in this letter from Council and that SACA
undertaking to ensure these areas are managed in this manner. Further, it is understood by SACA that this correspondence may be relied upon as confirmation of these arrangements.

I think that was a most successful resolution of this matter. It is probably fair to say that the parties
at the outset were somewhat surprised that a disallowance motion had been put forward but, when
we sat around the table and talked about what the lease said and they realised, I think, that what
they were intending to do was not necessarily reflected in the lease, they have now agreed to these
clarifications.

The most important point to note is that these provisions of the Adelaide Park Lands Act
allowing the parliament to have oversight are really important provisions, because what we are doing
here is effectively giving one organisation close to an exclusive right for 42 years, and those rights
did need to be clarified. As it turns out, I think SACA's intentions were as described: that it was not
their intention to exclude the public unreasonably. Nevertheless, as representatives of the public, it
is beholden on us to make sure that we do not end up unnecessarily alienating these important
Parklands from the people of South Australia.

I will conclude by thanking, first of all, the Adelaide Park Lands Preservation Association and
their vice president, Damien Mugavin, in particular. I would also like to thank Mike Philippou of the
Adelaide City Council and Keith Bradshaw, the chief executive of the South Australian Cricket
Association. In particular, I would like to offer my special thanks to Lord Mayor Martin Haese, who
came into Parliament House to sit down with me, with the Adelaide Park Lands Preservation
Association and with SACA. His input was helpful and instrumental in resolving this issue. With those
brief remarks, I now move:

That this order of the day be discharged.

Motion carried; order of the day discharged.

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