Former Adelaide Lord Mayor to run again

The race for the top job at Town Hall has opened up further with former Adelaide Lord Mayor Jane Lomax-Smith throwing in a late bid to return to her old job – calling for a “radical reset” of the current council.

Sep 07, 2022, updated Sep 07, 2022
Jane Lomax-Smith as a cabinet minister in 2006. Photo: Steve Larkin/AAP

Jane Lomax-Smith as a cabinet minister in 2006. Photo: Steve Larkin/AAP

Lomax-Smith, 72, who was Adelaide Lord Mayor from 1997 to 2000, made a surprise appearance on the electoral commission’s council candidate list at the close of nominations on Tuesday.

The former Rann Government cabinet minister will be running against incumbent Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor, former federal senator Rex Patrick, accountant Vivek Gupta and businessman Steven Kelly.

Lomax-Smith, who remains a member of the Labor Party, this morning vowed to run as a factionally unaligned candidate.

“I don’t need a public profile, I don’t need another job. But I, as a resident of the city, have been shocked by the progress the city has made recently,” she told ABC Radio Adelaide.

“I think that we need a radical reset in the city council.

“I’ve been pretty concerned that many residents have found the council alienating and the business community think they’re just irrelevant.”

A long-time Adelaide resident, Lomax-Smith was the state member for Adelaide from 2002 to 2010.

She held various portfolios during her time in the Rann Labor Government, including Minister for Education and Minister for Tourism.

“I know how the system works, I understand the interlinking capacity of state, federal and other local governments to work together and the need to really find ways to build bridges,” she said.

She said there were “a lot of really urgent problems in the city”, highlighting a retail sector in “disarray”, low office occupancy, and a “crisis in affordable housing”.

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“It seems to me that we really need a laser-like focus to sort out some of these issues,” she said.

Lomax-Smith said she had been “shocked” by the Adelaide City Council’s support of the former Marshall Government’s Riverbank Arena development in the park lands.

“I think more than that, I’ve noticed that there’s a lack of clarity and a lot of introspection in council,” she said.

“Unless the leadership is clear and has a focus on what they want to do, then the bureaucracy lacks direction and there’s no accountability.

“I think it’s really hard for staff to manage policies when the council has distractions internally.

“I think it’s time to just have a bit of a shake up.”

Voting packs for the Adelaide City Council election will be mailed out between October 14 and October 20.

Voting will close on November 10 and the count will begin on Saturday, November 12.

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