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Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Page: 3822


Dr SOUTHCOTT (Boothby) (19:00): I rise to speak on the release by the South Australian state government of the Tonsley Park master plan yesterday. The intention of the master plan is to remediate and redevelop the Tonsley Mitsubishi manufacturing plant site, which is in my electorate at Tonsley Park. The area of land equates to approximately 62 hectares, which is more than one-sixth the size of the Adelaide CBD.

The Mitsubishi manufacturing plant was closed in early 2008, at the expense of almost 1,000 local jobs. The facility had been an automotive manufacturing plant since 1964, originally opened by Sir Robert Menzies in October 1964 as a Chrysler Australia plant. Since the plant's closure, this 62-hectare facility at the centre of my electorate has sat largely empty and unused. It was purchased by the South Australian government in 2009 for $32.5 million. The original intention was to develop the site for new industries, including high-end manufacturing, research and new technologies. Yesterday, the state government released their 220-page master plan for the site, and I cautiously welcome that announcement. The master plan proposes to develop the site for a combination of residential, retail, hospitality and industry uses. These will be focused around a town square that is integrated with the re-use of the main assembly plant's shell.

In addition, the redevelopment will also include the TAFE SA Sustainable Industries Education Centre. The proposal will provide some certainty for investors, and I welcome the new local jobs that this plan will create. If the plan is realised, the proposal will create 6,300 jobs over 20 years and $1 billion in private investment. However, the caution I highlight here is that the state government has so far only attracted one investor to this site and, like so many other announcements that the South Australian government has made, the devil is in the 220 pages of detail. In 2010 their promise was for a development that would create 8,600 jobs; now it is 6,300 jobs—2,300 jobs have gone missing. In 2010 the deadline for completion was 2026; now it is 2032. In 2010 they were not subdividing and selling off residential property. But now they are, in the interest of reducing the state government's contribution.

In relation to the concern the state government had about purchasing the site to prevent it becoming a storage depot: when you read the plan, you realise that this is exactly what they plan to do. According to the master plan, for the sustainable light industry they plan to include as part of the redevelopment, their proposal is that 70 per cent of it be warehousing. In terms of the residential development, I welcome the fact they are looking at Subiaco Docklands and East Perth. I think they are excellent examples of successful developments.

Lastly, in terms of having a hub or a cluster, it is important that we back our strengths. Industry clusters are only successful when they are industries that we are already strong in. The Waite Campus in my electorate is a perfect example of this—a co-location of university, research and industry, all together in areas that we are traditionally strong in, including viticulture and agriculture. 'Clean tech', 'sustainable light industry' and 'advanced manufacturing' are all buzzwords, but buzzwords will not make this industry cluster successful.

I have been around long enough to see the South Australian government make these grand announcements and release fantastic flyover videos but then scale back the project to the point where it just does not exist. It would be a great thing for some enterprising person to come up with a mash up of all of these flyover videos which the state government have produced. They look fantastic, but ultimately what we end up with is nothing like these videos.

So, I am a bit sceptical about it. I cautiously welcome it. If it does come to be, it will be good news for local people. I sincerely hope it is not another multifunction polis. It still remains to be seen whether the vision of the plan of Parisian boulevards, urban chic and French industrial design is ever realised at this site, but I do hope that the state government can move forward with this and actually make it happen.