Labor warms up the bulldozers as Aquatic Centre users are left high and dry

Tuesday 11 July, 2023

There are fears Labor will leave users of the Adelaide Aquatic Centre high and dry after Tom Koutsantonis admitted not everyone who uses the current facility will be able to be relocated to an alternative site while the new centre is being built.

The revelation comes as the Opposition is inundated with concerns from swimmers, parents and instructors who say they’re worried the alternative options offered up by Labor are completely inadequate and that they fear the new Aquatic Centre will not be ready by the end of 2025.

The Adelaide Aquatic Centre is due to close in August next year for at least 16 months while demolition works get underway, even though Labor promised a new centre would “allow the existing facility to remain open during construction of the new centre”.

Peter Malinauskas’ shock change of plans has also come with a huge cost blowout, with an additional $55 million of taxpayer dollars being spent on a new waterslide.

Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Vincent Tarzia, urged Peter Malinauskas and his Labor Government to take the public’s concerns seriously and come up with real solutions that meet the needs of the community.

“Labor’s warming up the bulldozers to tear down the existing Adelaide Aquatic Centre so time is quickly running out to find suitable arrangements for affected users,” Mr Tarzia said.

“Tom Koutsantonis flippantly said in Budget Estimates that he’s ‘pretty confident’ that they can house 90 per cent of people who use the facility – that’s simply not good enough.

“We’ve been told of young parents who are stressed out because they’ve tried to enrol their children at other centres for swimming lessons, but they’ve been knocked back because they’re already full.

“There are also fears the learn to swim and rehab programs won’t be up to the same standard if they’re squeezed into pools at alternative sites like those at schools and universities.

“Staff at the Aquatic Centre have also told us they’re worried there are simply not enough indoor pools that operate year-round to offer them work during the shutdown period.

“The project has also blown out by an extraordinary $55 million dollars, essentially to just add in a new waterslide, which is a bitter pill for taxpayers to swallow during a cost of living crisis.

“This is yet another example of Labor being unable to manage major projects – which are marred by cost and time blowouts and South Australians being left in the lurch as a result.

“Peter Malinauskas, Tom Koutsantonis and local Labor MP Lucy Hood need to demonstrate genuine concern and find real solutions for Aquatic Centre users who right now feel stranded.”