House of Assembly - Wednesday, 8 June 2011, Page 4059

Mr TRELOAR (Flinders) (16:13): Today has been quite a long day, there have been many contributions, and the public debate has raged on this Adelaide Oval project for quite a long time now. I believe that in many respects this has dominated the public policy debate at the expense of other important areas such as health, education, infrastructure and investment in small business.

Mr Whetstone: And the River Murray.

Mr TRELOAR: And the River Murray, as the member for Chaffey reminds me. Whether the government admits to it or not, football in the city was thrust back onto the agenda by the state Liberals. Our plan for a purpose-built covered stadium struck a chord not only with the South Australian people but with the football community as well. At one time the South Australian National Football League sought to develop its own covered stadium but was told by the Premier to go back to the drawing board as it was too similar to the proposal put forward by the Liberal Party. Unfortunately, on that occasion the Premier put his own political interests ahead of the interests of South Australians.

In the short term, the sporting community will lament the missed opportunity to develop the stand-alone covered stadium which we as the state Liberals proposed. I do believe that one day South Australia will move towards a second world-class stadium, and it will be in the very long term.

Eventually South Australia will not have any doubts about developing another stadium for the needs of soccer particularly, and maybe rugby, as the popularity of those codes continue to grow. Many have pointed to the example of Melbourne. In fact, it has been referred to here today with the recently built AAMI Park. AAMI Park is more of a boutique 30,000-seat stadium for soccer and, once again, the rugby codes. Although I have not been there, I understand that it is a brilliantly designed and functional stadium which coexists with the magnificent MCG and Etihad Stadium at Docklands.

I have on occasion been lucky enough to visit the MCG. In fact, I am going with my family this coming long weekend. I am just tossing up as to whether I am going to wear my old football guernsey which resembles a Collingwood guernsey. Given the weather, I probably will take it. There has been a lot of reminiscing here. I appreciate the contribution of the member for Morialta, who recognises his rather limited memory, I guess, due to his age and I also thank him for his invitation to join him in a game of bocce at some point in the future.

I remember the first time I saw Adelaide Oval as a young boy and avid footy fan, and particularly a follower of the South Australian football league. I visited the Adelaide Oval in 1974 and saw Glenelg playing some team. I cannot recall who it was; it may have been North Adelaide, but I think it was more likely West Torrens or Woodville, member for Chaffey. So, I have fond memories. I did from time to time see footy games at Adelaide Oval. In more recent years, I have spent time at cricket games, particularly test matches, although I have not spent anywhere near the amount of time there as many other members of this house.

With respect to the Adelaide Oval redevelopment and this piece of legislation, I am personally very pleased with the position we have come to as a party. I congratulate our shadow treasurer and, indeed, all of my colleagues on their contribution to this debate so far. Given that this part of the debate, at least, is drawing to a close, I do not want to rehash what others have already put on the record, although I think there are probably a few pertinent points that I need to put on the record for the constituents of Flinders.

I am on the record previously as talking about the people of Flinders and their understanding of the fact that Adelaide's population commands the lion's share of the state's resources and projects, such as this. However, the electors of Flinders were told by the Labor Party during the 2010 election campaign that the taxpayer contribution to this project would be $450 million and, I quote, 'not a penny more'. So, I understand and have heard their frustration at being deceived by the government during that campaign and when the project cost was revealed more recently to be some $535 million. This is a significant blowout, and it was a deliberate ploy. That is why I am now very supportive of capping the taxpayer contribution at that stated $535 million, and that is why the Liberal Party is seeking to include it in the legislation—because this government has shown that it cannot be relied upon to ensure there are no cost blowouts on major projects such as this.

The other crucially important point for the community of Flinders is community sporting facilities in my electorate. Local sports is the cornerstone of social activity. I have been involved for many years in local sport as a junior player, as a senior player and now as a parent. I understand and recognise the importance of local sport, particularly Saturday sport, to the social fabric and cohesiveness of local regional communities. It is not just football or cricket, it is other sports as well. Recognising that community and local sport is so important, the Liberal Party has called for an audit into sporting facilities around the state. As I have already indicated, I believe we need to invest in the grassroots of sport generally, not just football and cricket but any of the many other popular sports that are played right around this great state.

Therefore, I believe a proposal to direct rent or a licence fee paid by the Stadium Management Authority back into recreation and sports facilities grants programs is an excellent idea because most local clubs rely on grants programs to continue, particularly to upgrade their facilities which are often beyond the scope and ability of clubs in small towns. They rely on such grants programs and those programs need to be well funded by government. This is a way to do that and it makes eminent sense because the many sporting and recreational organisations in Flinders could benefit from this.

I believe the Auditor-General should be given powers to audit the project, and I believe any government should be open and accountable in that respect. We will be pushing for that as part of our amendments so that the Auditor-General can report to the parliament on those issues and with those powers. It is also important that the normal planning processes apply. Various organisations and individuals in Flinders adhere to the proper planning laws when developing projects so it is only right that this project is subject to those same planning processes.

The parliament itself needs to play a role here, as I think we are. This government seems to forget the importance of the proper accountability measures enshrined in legislation, so I am very supportive of the measures to ensure that the Adelaide Oval redevelopment is given proper scrutiny in the Public Works Committee. I believe my colleagues have canvassed the other issues in detail over today's contributions, and many have spoken about their own experiences, mostly pleasurable, and the place that Adelaide Oval holds in their memories, their hearts and the lives of South Australians. I will reiterate the importance of community and recreation and sporting groups in rural and regional areas, and trust that they will get a good deal out of this because it is vital that they do so. With those few comments, I indicate my support for the legislation with the proviso that amendments are accepted.