Legislative Council: Thursday, February 08, 2024


Walker Tower

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (14:44): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question without notice to the minister representing the Minister for Planning on the topic of the second Walker Tower.

Leave granted.

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: Today, InDaily have reported on the negotiations between the Malinauskas government and the Walker Corporation over the building of a second tower on the Festival Plaza. InDaily reports that, and I quote from the article:

The Premier said there were 'a few different options kicking around' for the site but negotiations are currently focused on the commercial parameters of the new tower and what the public realm investment will be.

He confirmed the proposed building would be a mixed-use tower with retail and hospitality on the ground level and commercial and/or office space above.

The article goes on to state that:

Malinauskas said the 'quid pro-quo' with Walker Corporation was allowing them to go 'potentially a lot further in height'.

In 2021, it was reported that the state government contributed $213 million of public money towards upgrading the area around the first Walker Tower. Then, in 2020, the Adelaide Advertiser reported that the first Walker Tower was exempt from rates during the construction phase as it was situated on Crown land. The article stated that this was estimated to have cost the City of Adelaide $150,000 in lost revenue every year. I understand that SkyCity was exempt from rates during the construction phase because it was also on Crown land. However, the title was returned after construction was complete to ensure that SkyCity would be required to pay rates. My questions to the minister therefore are:

1. Will the government rule out using more public money to support a private development on Crown land?

2. If the second tower is built, will the government ensure that the development is required to pay rates to the City of Adelaide both during construction and after completion of the building?

3. What does the Premier mean when he refers to potentially going a lot further in height? How high can the Malinauskas government go?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (14:46): I thank the honourable member for his questions. I noted that some parts of his introduction referred to decisions that I would assume were made under the previous government, given they were 2020 and 2021. In terms of the other parts of the question, I will refer it to the relevant minister in the other place and bring back a response.