New $700 million CBD arena slammed by SA-BEST

19 March 2021

SA-BEST today slammed the State Government’s plans to build a $700 million indoor entertainment arena in the Adelaide CBD. 

SA-BEST MLCs Frank Pangallo and Connie Bonaros accused the government of porkbarelling and claimed the project was “an absolute waste of taxpayers’ money”. 

They said the money should be directed towards a range of other areas desperate for urgent government funding including addressing hospital waiting lists, the public housing shortage and hospital ramping. 

“The Marshall Liberal Government has got its priorities diabolically wrong,” said Frank, SA-BEST’s Treasury and Budget spokesperson. 

“This sort of porkbarelling just goes to show how out of touch it is with the community and how desperate it is to shore up voters in the Adelaide CBD for Rachel Sanderson,” he said. 

“When you are on the nose you roll out the bread and circuses – it’s a disgrace. 

“Meanwhile, public housing waiting lists are at record levels and our public health system is in ruins.” 

The government is expected to announce later today plans to build an indoor entertainment arena near the Adelaide’s railyards and the River Torrens. 

The 30,000-seat arena will be used for concerts, conventions, court sports like basketball and netball and will replace the Adelaide Entertainment Centre at Hindmarsh, which is expected to be sold to offset the expected $700 million cost of the new arena. 

Frank and Connie called on the State Government to justify how the state could afford a new arena when Treasury coffers had already been hit with a $500 million GST blackhole and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“This is desperate, elitist politics at its worst,” said Connie, SA-BEST’s health and Housing & Social Inclusion spokesperson. 

“Here we are exactly 12 months out from the state election and the Premier is more intent on sprouting projects the state simply can’t afford than financing grassroots initiatives that help some of the most vulnerable people in our community,” she said. 

“We have families sleeping in their cars because we don’t have enough public housing, ambulance ramping is at an all time high, people have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and what is the Premier’s solution – to build an entertainment arena the state can’t afford.” 

Frank said: “This is the same Premier who killed our V8 race because it was allegedly costing the government money but is happy to throw hundreds of millions of dollars to a new entertainment arena that can’t be justified. 

“Polling shows the Member for Adelaide, Rachel Sanderson, is in danger of losing her seat and this announcement is nothing more than porkbarelling to shore up support for her,” he said. 

“The state simply can’t afford such largesse at the moment. 

“The money should be directed towards vital social justice projects that help vulnerable members of our community and addressing critical shortages in our public health system.”

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