Peter Malinauskas in hot water over Aquatic Centre privatisation plan

Sunday 24 September, 2023

The Malinauskas Labor Government’s gross hypocrisy has been exposed, after revelations they’re seeking a private operator for the new Adelaide Aquatic Centre - flying directly in the face of Peter Malinauskas’ fierce anti-privatisation rhetoric.

As listed on the SA Tender website, Labor is currently seeking out existing Aquatic and Leisure Centre Operators to participate in consultation on the project who must have “Demonstrated experience in operating one or more Aquatic Centres in Australia with an annual turnover exceeding $3,000,000”.

The move breaks Peter Malinauskas’ pre-election promise that the new centre would be operated by Government and is in stark contrast to his outrage over the private operation of train and tram services.

It’s the latest controversy to hit the problem plagued project, following an enormous cost blow out to $155 million and revelations the existing facility will be closed for at least 16 months while the new centre is built.

Leader of the Opposition, David Speirs, said it’s yet another example of Peter Malinauskas and Labor saying one thing before the election, then doing something completely different after.

“Peter Malinauskas acts so wildly offended by the word ‘privatisation’, so it’s completely hypocritical he’s now looking for a private operator for the Adelaide Aquatic Centre,” Mr Speirs said.

“Before the election, Labor told South Australians the Aquatic Centre would be operated by the Government but this tender exposes a double standard that can’t be ignored.

“Peter Malinauskas must explain this blatant hypocrisy. South Australians deserve a Government that stands by its pledges, not one that flip-flops to suit its own agenda.”

Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Vincent Tarzia, said South Australians deserve transparency, not a Government that backtracks on its promises.

“Labor loves to talk the talk when it comes to privatisation, but they struggle to walk the walk,” Mr Tarzia said.

“For example, Peter Malinauskas and Tom Koutsantonis said they’d tear up the train contract with Keolis Downer, but all they’ve done is vary it.

“When it comes to the Adelaide Aquatic Centre, it’s just one broken promise from Labor after another.

“Before the election, Peter Malinauskas said the new Aquatic Centre would cost taxpayers $80 million – that price tag’s been blown out of the water by an eye-watering $55 million for a waterslide.

“Labor also promised South Australians the existing facility would remain open during construction of the new centre, but we’ve since learned users will be left high and dry.

“Labor simply can’t be trusted when it comes to managing major projects in South Australia.”