Forget global issues, think our city first

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Forget global issues, think our city first

24 January 2017

FORGET social engineering – minimising the cost of living and the cost of doing business in the City of Adelaide are key to population growth. Presently the city has a population of just over 22,000.

However, the State Government’s 30-year growth plan has provided a target of 50,000 residents by 2024. Unfortunately the State Government has also provided the country’s highest electricity prices and most unreliable network. Consequently the Adelaide City Council, as custodian of the state’s capital city, must do all it can to deliver growth.

The City of Adelaide is committed to becoming one of the world’s first carbon neutral cities. But quite why it is the business of local government to attempt to influence global issues is beyond me. Local governments should do what they were created to do and do that well. In the main this means providing essential services like high-quality roads and infrastructure.

Carbon neutrality is a matter best addressed by a higher level of government. Local governments should no sooner focus on climate change than they should spend ratepayers’ hard-earned dollars on addressing world peace.

In sporting parlance, one must know one’s role. Ventures like solar-powered buses, the Frome St bikeway, the Pirie St green wall and a range of other vanity projects are an impost on the ratepayer and therefore on city living. The choking of city streets will not only dissuade people from driving their cars into the city to spend money but also comes at a high capital works cost. Competition for the consumer dollar is at an all-time high.

How can we expect our city businesses to compete with suburban shopping centres, with their abundant parking and ease of access, if we wage war on the motor vehicle? Do we really expect people to ride into town from Aldgate to buy a TV from Rundle Mall on their bicycle? Living in the city should not be a privilege available to the wealthy few. It should be the right of everyone with reasonable resources who wants to make the move.

People do not want to be the centre of a social experiment or an unrealistic 2017 utopian living style. Price, not promises, will always dictate where people live. If rates, charges, and rents don’t match those in the suburbs, then we are whistling in the wind about increasing the city’s residential population.

There are only so many levers a council can pull to attract growth but responsible spending and keeping the rates to an absolute minimum are critical. Fiscal responsibility, not virtue-signalling, must pave the way for a truly prosperous future for the City of Adelaide.

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