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Wednesday, 8 June 1994
Page: 1489


Senator FOREMAN —My question is directed to the Minister for Small Business, Customs and Construction. I understand that a significant announcement was made in Adelaide this morning in relation to the multifunction polis project. Can the minister inform the Senate of progress with the MFP's first stage urban development? What will be the economic significance of the development?


Senator SCHACHT —I thank Senator Foreman for his question. This morning in Adelaide Mr Ross Kennan, the MFP chief executive, made an announcement on the commencement of the development process for the project's Adelaide core site. The MFP Development Corporation has made a call for registrations of interest from Australian international firms to develop commercially the first stage of the core site.

  Extensive international advertising will offer developers the opportunity to register interest before 22 July this year. As a result, MFP Australia will choose a partner to develop the first stage of its urban development to high standards of innovation. The MFP will then negotiate heads of agreement and conduct a joint design exercise with the preferred candidate for consideration by the end of this year. If a satisfactory agreement is reached to approve the project, contractual negotiations and detailed design work will follow immediately, and construction will start in the second half of next year.

  The successful development consortium will have to demonstrate a history of world's best practice in urban design and, moreover, a capacity to set new benchmarks in urban planning. The theme of the project will be to show the successful coexistence of commercial, residential and community facilities. The economic benefits will be quite substantial. A 500-hectare site is expected to house up to 12,000 people in 5,000 dwellings. The total cost of the development, which will be private sector driven, will be around $1 billion over the coming 10 to 12 years.

  I think that since the appointment of the chief executive of the MFP, Mr Kennan, in May of last year and the appointment of the development corporation board early in 1993, it has been proved that the MFP project does have strength to proceed. I also have to say that I accept the fact that there has been some cynicism in some quarters, but it is pleasing to note that the former South Australian Liberal Party opposition, now the government, has accepted the Australian government's view that the MFP should be seen as a national and international project. We have reached agreement in accordance with those themes. Therefore, the project is now proceeding and the people of South Australia and the rest of Australia, and the international interests in MFP, will see its construction starting over the next 18 months.

  On behalf of the Australian government, I would like to express special appreciation to Mr Kennan, the chief executive; Mr Alex Morokoff; the members of the development board; and the staff of the corporation for the work that they have done in the last 18 months.


Senator Kemp —And Mr Olsen and Mr Brown. Be generous!


Senator SCHACHT —For Senator Kemp's sake, I will pay tribute to Mr Olsen because he was a great ally of mine in convincing Mr Brown to change his mind from wanting to turn the MFP into a technology park like another dozen in Australia, to maintaining its role as an MFP and as a national and an international project. I think Mr Olsen's time in this place gave him an appreciation of the national and international aspects of the MFP, which took some time to sink into Mr Brown's brain.