Innovation and immigration earmarked for South Australian capital in new City Deal

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Adelaide will be the focus of an Australian Government initiative to drive its local economy and manage city planning.

Benito Carbone

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today with South Australian Premier Steven Marshall for a Australian Government-operated City Deal, the latest step of renewal in the South Australian capital.

The deal was struck alongside announcing that Adelaide would house the Australian Space Agency in its Lot Fourteen innovation precinct.

Lot Fourteen – the name derived from the allotments that South Australian Surveyor-General Colonel William Light laid out in his 1837 plan for Adelaide – is envisioned by the state government to become a “globally-recognised creation and innovation neighbourhood”.

The site’s heritage-listed buildings have been marked for significant adaptive re-use onsite, which has been coupled with the construction of new commercial buildings to accommodate a variety of tenants. So far tenants include the Office of South Australia’s Chief Entrepreneur, Jim Whalley, the University of Adelaide’s Machine Learning Lab and a variety of space and defence related startups.

Still in its preparation phase, the Adelaide City Deal could last for over a decade.

Federal Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population Alan Tudge said Lot Fourteen would be the centrepiece of the City Deal because it harnesses Adelaide’s greatest strengths.

“The [Space] Agency location and the Adelaide City Deal will align to allow better management of population growth and city planning,” Minister Tudge said.

“This will ensure jobs, infrastructure, services and public spaces are in place to create a faster-growing, productive and liveable Adelaide.”

The MoU outlines that the City Deal will have a presence in the rolling out of the GigCity network, as well as the US$90 billion Naval Shipbuilding Plan recently announced for the state.

The deal also included initiatives to drive population growth in Adelaide.

The MoU states: “The Commonwealth will commit to working with South Australia to ensure it can access overseas workers where Australians are not available.

“This could include measures such a developing a Designated Area Migration Agreement to tailor temporary and permanent visa arrangements to the specific needs of the Adelaide and South Australian labour market.”

Also included was the revelation that South Australia will become a pilot state for a new type of three-year visa.

The Supporting Innovation in South Australia [SISA] visa aims to retain budding entrepreneurs and highly skilled professionals who arrive in Adelaide for work.

“City Deals are about all three levels of government working together to drive the local economy and we are already see many cities benefitting from these deals including Darwin, Townsville, Launceston and Western Sydney.” Said Minister Tudge.

Inspired by a similar initiative in the United Kingdom, City Deals were announced in 2015 by then-Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as a way to deliver on a vision for productive and liveable cities as outlined in Australia’s Smart Cities Plan.

In principle, the approach formalises the bringing together of the community with local, state and national governance to align planning and investment in order to accelerate growth and secure the city’s future.

Since 2015, City Deals have been established in four cities, including Western Sydney, with future deals having been announced for Perth, Geelong and Hobart.