A Bridge Too Far…

Dr Rob Crcker, Community Aliance
Dr Rob Crocker, Community Aliance

At a rally held on 19th March, Community Alliance SA representatives and members protested the process for the Adelaide Oval Footbridge development. The rally was organised by the Liberal MP Rachel Sanderson, State Member for Adelaide, and held on the steps of Parliament House on North Terrace.

Although the Community Alliance is not aligned to any political party, it opposes the process by which the $40 million dollar ‘bridge’ development over the Torrens is being pushed through. After being rejected by the Upper House, this is being ‘approved’ by the Planning Minister’s use of his ‘interim powers’, excluding the public from any meaningful consultation over this development.

Speakers at the rally included Rachel Sanderson, Dr Rob Crocker of the Community Alliance SA, Michelle Lensink MLC, and Kelly Henderson from the Adelaide Park Lands Preservation Association.

Dr Crocker spoke about the ‘fake consultation’ that has led to the footbridge development being pushed through against the wishes of the public and without them having any real say. He defined the issue as being all about “Process, process, process……..the community wants a genuine process that includes transparency, accountability and genuine consultation”.

Dr Crocker spoke about other planning decisions where the community has been effectively locked out of the decision-making process and asked “Why should almost every major decision over the last 5 years in planning and development be made behind closed doors?”

Jay walking on water?
Jay-walking on water?


Community Alliance SA taking steps to put people into planning for a changeCommunity Alliance SA taking steps to put people into planning for a change


Dr Crocker spoke about developments at Woodville at St Clair, Mount Barker, Mayfield in the City and Buckland Park. “The process needs to be reformed to include genuine independence, following clear principles and rules we all understand. At present it appears that decisions are being made behind closed doors by the Minister and his minions, often at the behest of lobbyists and selected developers”, he said.

He also drew attention to the more important and larger developments being approved and pushed through without any genuine consultation, and often before consultation was even considered or organised. Dr Crocker said “Even when the consultation system is working ‘properly’ this is a system that does not work well and has cemented in a very poor process, which belongs in the 1920s, not in a society with access to Facebook and Twitter”.

Rachel Sanderson and others spoke out against the cost of the footbridge and the Labor Government’s push for this development, including a failed attempt to fast-track the process by giving the footbridge the same classification as low-cost home improvements like solar panels and carports.

The footbridge is currently the subject of a Ministerial Development Plan Amendment (DPA) that was even put into interim (or immediate) effect at the same time that the public consultation process began. Worse still, a small change to the wording of the DPA has been made. This results in the DPA now allowing for commercial development, including new office buildings to be built on the site, again without full public consultation. The ‘public consultation process’ for the DPA ends on 20th March, the day after the rally. However, any development applications submitted during the public consultation period will be assessed against this draft DPA, regardless of any changes that are subsequently made.

The Alliance wants these Ministerial powers changed to stop them being mis-used in this way.

Ombudsman finds conflict of interest in Mt Barker zoning

The SA Ombudsman, Richard Bingham has handed down his report on the Investigation into the Growth Investigation Areas procurement. He has found that a conflict of interest existed in the role of planning consultants Connor Holmes in advising the SA Planning Department on the Mt Barker re-zoning while simultaneously working for developers who stood to gain by those same zoning decisions. He has called for the SA ICAC to investigate.  In introducing his Report, the Ombudsman has commented:

Where the government chooses to engage consultants to assist in achieving its planning objectives, the community is entitled to expect that rigorous and accountable procurement processes will be followed- including ensuring consultant probity and identifying and dealing with conflicts of interest. Where government fails to do this, community confidence is lost.Mt B1

He noted that the failure to identify and address the conflict of interest tainted the  procurement process and left some in the local community feeling understandably suspicious of the process. He went on to declare that in his opinion,

It would be in the public interest for the government to revisit its views and consider releasing the Growth Investigation Areas project report .

On ABC Breakfast  Radio 891, Matt and Dave interview Minister Rau and Greens MLC Mark Parnell, who argues that because Connor Holmes are also acting for devlopers on a number of other Growth Inverstigation Report sites including Buckland Park, that the probity of the entire SA Government 30 year plan for Adelaide is now under a cloud. Listen at


The Ombudsman’s report can be found at


ABC footage can be found at


Adelaide Now has also featured the Report at



Greens MLC Mark Parnell has commented that the residents of Mt Barker who have been raising this issue for several years must feel both “vindicated and devastated”.

The Community Alliance position on the Ombudsman’s Report is here:

Ombudsman report CA opinion

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