Sniffing out tasty Adelaide and SA tidbits

In this week’s InSider column, there’s a sinking feeling around Osborne, Tarrkarri gets trashed, LIV Golf marketing spending is revealed and ramping is put to the pub test.

Is Adelaide sleepwalking into disaster?

According to one New South Wales art critic and former gallery administrator, the answer is yes.

In a scathing opinion piece published in the Financial Review last week, critic John McDonald took aim at the state government’s $200 million plan to build an Aboriginal cultural centre next to the Botanic Garden on North Terrace.

The centre – to be called Tarrkarri – was meant to open in 2025, but work on the project has been on hold since October, when Premier Peter Malinauskas sent the plans back to the drawing board due to a $50 million cost blow-out.

McDonald, who previously managed the National Gallery of Australia’s Australian art collection, believes the government should scrap the project in favour of a previous Labor Government plan to build a contemporary art gallery at the site.

He argues there are at least seven other interstate plans to build Indigenous art and culture centres and Adelaide would be better off pursuing a gallery with a broader remit.

“To be blunt, to set up this new centre in any other way is to risk sleepwalking into disaster by building a handsome new institution that falls flat with the public,” McDonald wrote.

“The warning is not just relevant to Adelaide but to all the First Nations centres, galleries and museums that are being launched with so much goodwill and so little forethought.”

As for the panel set up by the state government last year to review the plans, McDonald made representations to it. He says he urged it to reconsider building a contemporary art gallery instead, apparently to no avail.

“I got the distinct impression that the panel – none of whom have any direct experience of working with museums – had no intention, or perhaps no option, of returning to the Adelaide Contemporary proposal,” he wrote.

‘They were committed to Tarrkarri, but I couldn’t agree with their ideas as to how the centre was going to work, which seemed to revolve around a café, a shop, a black box theatre and a grand, high-tech attempt to tell the story of Aboriginal culture.”

InDaily has previously attempted to obtain a copy of the Tarrkarri business case through a freedom of information request, but the government refused, instead publishing a summary stating how many visitors it expects will pass through the centre once it opens.

The panel is expected to hand down its findings to the government this month.

We all live in a …

It was four weeks ago that a flurry of press conferences announced news of Australia’s next underwater fleet – but those expected to live alongside the new nuclear-powered submarine shipyard in Osborne are still in the dark about how they fit into the national plan.

The new Osborne shipyard site is in the heart of Port Adelaide Enfield council’s beat but its members are still waiting to hear what will be built or what precautions will be taken around having nuclear reactors delivered to the site.

Premier Peter Malinauskas dashed off to Old Blighty for a round of “high-level” briefings the day after the subs announcement on March 14, telling South Australians the state needs to be immediately preparing to be at the epicentre of nuclear-powered submarine building.

A strong lineup of pollies promised work on the $2 billion shipyard will start this year.

At Port Adelaide this week, a council spokesperson advised InSider to contact other levels of government when approached about whether locals had any concerns about living alongside the site.

“The council has not been involved in any conversations about this at this stage, nor do we know what is being proposed to occur at the site,” he said.

“We encourage you to speak with the Federal and State Government regarding nuclear submarines.”

Golf spending on par

The state government’s been on an events media blitz this week to spruik the AFL Gather Round and next weekend’s LIV Golf tournament.

The Premier’s daily round of media appearances – packed to the brim with interstate journos, match-dressed footy players and AFL executives – has been supplemented by a proliferation of advertisements across the CBD for April’s events calendar.

There's a few in for the @AFL Gather Round press conference at @TheAdelaideOval. @abcadelaide

— Rory McClaren (@Rory_McClaren) April 12, 2023

The latest edition of the government’s marketing and communications expenditure report gives us some insight into what all this is costing.

According to the February approvals report, Events SA has set aside $840,000 to “raise awareness” of LIV Golf Adelaide from February 27 to April 23.

The proposed advertising spend is on par with what’s been allocated to promote the government’s mobile phone ban in public schools ($900,000) and its campaign to bolster police recruitment ($950,000).

An advertisement for LIV Gold hanging from a light pole in the CBD. Photo: InDaily

It’s also a good deal higher than the $530,000 in advertising for Tasting Australia 2023, the $250,000 for last August’s Rugby Union doubleheader, the $230,000 for the 2022 OzAsia Festival and the $185,000 for the Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup.

But the LIV Golf spend doesn’t quite reach the $3.8m promotional budget the Department of Premier and Cabinet put forward to spruik the return of the Adelaide 500, or the $1.4m for the also-returned 2023 Tour Down Under.

One out of two ain’t bad

It’s been a tough week for developer Ross Pelligra.

The Melbourne property magnate, after more than a year of planning work, this week saw his vision for a 21-level “premium” apartment tower on the corner of Rundle St and East Terrace knocked back by South Australia’s top planning authority.

But it wasn’t all bad news for the development mogul. The State Commission Assessment Panel (SCAP) on Wednesday was gracious enough to tick off a separate bid from his company to transform a CBD office tower into student accommodation.

The 13-storey building, located on the corner of King William and Grenfell Street, is currently home to a Westpac branch and (according to the government’s planning boffins) five levels of vacant office space.

The existing facade of 80 King William St. Photo: InDaily

The refurbishment plans approved by the SCAP this week. Image: Tectvs Architecture and Future Urban

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Pelligra’s approved plans will see 110 student accommodation rooms fill the building along with new conference rooms and a gym. The bank branch on the ground floor and some office space will remain.

The building’s exterior will also get a much-needed facelift with new green granite, anodised aluminium brass, pre-coloured aluminium panels and bronze and gold glazing set to cover its southern and western facades.

Coupled with the Myer Centre’s looming façade upgrade, InSider hopes the city is becoming slightly more attractive for our international students…

A new plan for city cinema

The new board of embattled cinema group Mercury CX has set a date for its first annual general meeting.

The organisation, which operates the Mercury Cinema in Adelaide’s West End, has stared down insolvency for the best part of 12 months after the Malinauskas Government knocked back its request for $700,000 to $1.2 million in annual funding last year.

The struggle to find a viable operating model saw the exit of former Mercury CX CEO Karena Slaninka and chair Gena Ashwell in December.

They were replaced by a new board led by former South Australian Film Corporation chair Peter Hanlon and Emmy Award-winning producer Kirsty Stark, who have been handed a $50,000 government funding lifeline to explore a way forward for the cinema.

Screen aficionados and emerging filmmakers can hear the new board’s plan on Tuesday, May 30 at the Mercury Cinema.

The Pub Test

It’s the closest pub to the Royal Adelaide Hospital, so InSider ventured to the West Oak Hotel to ask around for views on the seemingly perennial problem of ramping. The pub is home to the Jolly Bar, the doctor’s bar rescued from the old RAH as it was demolished, but there was only one medical professional nursing a long shift with a knockoff drink to speak to for an inside view on ramping.

“It is what it is at the end of the day,” said the emergency registered nurse.

“We can’t do much about it. ED is clogged up because the hospital is clogged up. SAAS (the ambulance service) is clogged up because we’re clogged up, like, it has to happen.

“I don’t like how the ambos have to stay with them at the hospital because then it’s less time for the ambos to be on the road. So we need more staff at the hospitals to look after them in a triage sort of way. But, it is what it is. It has to happen.”

Tessa and Emma, both university employees, agree with the nurse about the need for more staff.

“The issue is with ramping, but the issue is also with triaging in the hospital itself. So there needs to be a whole overhaul of the hospital system and of the amount of nurses that we don’t have that need to be there to be able to triage from the ramps as well,” said Tessa, a digital marketer.

“As well as the ambulance staff – we have so many paramedic students coming out of universities and not getting opportunities to do internships so we don’t have the paramedics, but we also don’t have the ambulances themselves. The whole thing just needs an overhaul in my opinion.”

Tessa’s friend Emma agreed that “it’s really awful”.

“I think a big part of the conversation needs to be about where money is spent. I think the Premier got in on a platform at the election around ramping and healthcare services and it’d be really good to see him put that into action. I feel like we haven’t seen enough yet of how he’s actually going to tackle this problem,” she said.

“Even things around a merger or a new university and money going towards that at the expense potentially of a very, very important topic like ramping and the healthcare industry.”

But Beth and Marissa, having a drink while leaning against the external standing bar, are less concerned.

“You hear it often in the media, but I’ve yet to see the issue,” Beth, a primary school worker, said.

“People talk about it all the time but you don’t see the issue unless you’re at the hospital. As someone who doesn’t visit the hospital, you just don’t see it as an issue.”

Marissa, a site administrator for a construction company, was even less aware.

“I have no idea what ramping is. This is the first time I’ve heard of it. New concept. No idea,” she said.

Stuff you should know…

Today is “Dreams of Reason Feast Day”, which commemorates “scientific theories that have been discarded and science fiction futures that have not come to fruition yet”, according to many dubious web pages.

While there may not be many commemorative morning teas to mark the day, academics love to write papers on who got it right, such as this one about what the Jetsons got right and wrong by Agustin Chevez, the Workplace Futures Research Lead, Centre for the New Workforce at Swinburne University of Technology.

And if you didn’t secure tickets to the Gather Round, check out New Japan Pro Wrestling TAMASHII at its Adelaide debut at the Hindley Street Music Hall tonight at 7.30pm. Guaranteed to be more hits than Richmond v Sydney.

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