Tag listing: Monarto

Positive step

The State Government’s commitment to exploring the viability of the GlobeLink freight bypass is a positive step that could have long-term benefits for SA’s economic future.
The master plan is expected to take several months, if not years, and GlobeLink itself – if it does eventuate – is likely to take more than a decade.
But significant progress often requires long term planning and sometimes an element of risk.
The study itself is likely to cost around $20m and could find the concept unviable.
But at least through thorough research an informed decision can be made, based on the actual benefits it will bring and the costs to the taxpayer.
And if those benefits are found to be worth the investment, the impact will reach far wider than the State’s primary producers.
While the concept is likely to make SA more competitive in both national and global markets, it will also benefit thousands of Hills and Adelaide commuters by diverting freight trucks away from the freeway and Portrush Road.
But perhaps the greatest benefit to commuters would be the potential opening of the current rail corridor to provide a fast public transport corridor linking the Hills with the city.

Election signs

If there’s one issue that could unite voters on all sides of politics at election time it’s a mutual disdain for election posters.
They spring up overnight as soon as the writs are issued and launch an assault of the aesthetic kind along just about every main road.
You can’t drop the kids at school, commute to work or head to a sports match without being followed by the beady eyes of smiling candidates all clamoring for your vote.
They’re expensive for the candidates and they are ugly for the residents … particularly in our beautiful Hills environment.
The recent thefts of hundreds of posters belonging to both the Liberal Party and Centre Alliance points to organised removals and appears to go well beyond the usual election-time shenanigans where the odd sign is taken down through random acts of skylarking.
It should be remembered the removal of signs is illegal and should not be condoned.
The removal of so many signs points to either a massive rejection of this form of advertising by members of the public who have chosen to cleanse entire towns of their stain or campaigns by over-enthusiastic political junkies determined to damage the chances of the ‘enemy’.
Either way, many would argue they’re doing the region a favor.

Monarto growth

The idea of a northern rail bypass from Monarto to Adelaide’s port isn’t new.
Over the past decade it has been considered by local councils right up to the Federal Government – and now it’s the SA Liberals’ turn.
While the Opposition’s announcement has an aura of deja vu, it is a positive step forward for a Party which, for too long, has limited itself to reactive politics.
Here, at last, is a concrete point of difference between the State’s two major Parties in the lead-up to the March State election in 2018.
The recently announced proposal highlights some forward thinking that may shift debate beyond the vision-limiting four-year term of politics that has so often hamstrung effective politics in recent years.
In the scheme of what is likely to be a multi-billion dollar development, the Liberals’ $20m commitment to investigate a potentially State-transforming project is a drop in the ocean.
The biggest question mark hangs over the viability of the freight-only airport and, particularly, whether there would ever be enough demand for exports to be air-freighted from SA to make it worthwhile.
But it is clear that others also believe in the potential for both the road and rail bypass and a freight hub at Monarto, with local councils and both the Murraylands and Hills and Fleurieu Regional Development Australia branches having recently committed to an investigation into the economic and social benefits of such a project.
They can see a wealth of possibilities, from jobs creation to business growth.
Monarto is ideally suited to such a development – it’s right alongside key road and rail routes, has abundant flat and relatively cheap land, is already home to expanding food production, manufacturing and freight businesses and has a ready workforce to draw on from the Hills, Fleurieu and Murraylands.
There is also access to recycled water from Mt Barker, opening up the opportunity to create a new food bowl nearby.
The key point for Steven Marshall and the Opposition will be ensuring that there is a robust plan in place to attract businesses to Monarto, should its investigation prove that the project is viable.
If that happens, GlobeLink could be the economic answer to this region’s growing pains.

Monarto vision

More than  40 years ago Don Dunstan had a bold plan to raise a new city at Monarto. He saw it as the answer to rapid population growth that threatened to stretch Adelaide’s boundaries north and south and swamp prime farmland and vineyards.
The vision was killed off by a combination of politics, economic downturn and population decline.
But now, four decades on, Monarto looks set to rise in a new form – as a food bowl and economic hub nurtured by one of the most ambitious water reuse schemes this State has ever seen.
Ironically, this horticultural and food production powerhouse would replace industries killed off by the last 40 years of rampant urban expansion north, south and east of Adelaide that has swallowed up some of SA’s best farmland.
The vision is an impressive one.
The Mt Barker and Murray Bridge councils would combine and expand their wastewater treatment schemes and embrace stormwater capture and treatment.
The water they produce would raise flourishing new enterprises from the dry soils east of the Hills and across to the Murraylands. Intensive horticulture businesses could relocate to cheap land near Monarto, Callington and Palamana.
Other ventures such as food processing and value-adding could be drawn to the growing business hub in Monarto where land is much cheaper than the city.
It also has easy access to the freeway for transport and, potentially a major rail hub if a new rail freight bypass goes ahead. There are also long-term plans to locate an airfield – such as a relocated Parafield – close by, and to pipe gas from Murray Bridge.
An economic powerhouse at Monarto would provide much-needed jobs to both Mt Barker and Murray Bridge as the regional centres face growth forced on them by the State Government.
This is the level of planning and vision one would have hoped to have seen in the Government’s much-maligned 30-Year Plan for Greater Adelaide.
Instead it has taken two councils and two Federal Government sponsored Regional Development Australia bodies to come up with an economic solution to the problems of unplanned growth raised by the State Government’s rezoning.
There is still an opportunity for the State Government to help this vision become a reality. If it is serious about providing jobs to go with the thousands of new houses it will force on this region, then it must pledge its financial and political support for this project.
Without either it is doomed to fail, leaving the region with little chance of building its own economic independence.