New casino hub a safe bet - Friday 29th of May 2009

WHILE we are loathe to compare Adelaide to Melbourne - they are two vastly different cities - sometimes it is worth looking over the border to see what they do well.

Southbank is one example. Many South Australians who have visited Melbourne will have strolled Southbank, usually as part of a weekend to see their team beat a Victorian side at the MCG or Docklands.

The riverside promenade with its artworks, fountains, restaurants, shops and public spaces is a lesson in revitalising an area into a place people love to gather, to stroll, to dine, to be entertained or just people-watch. At its heart is the Crown casino and hotels complex.

With SkyCity Adelaide casino looking for a new, larger home – preferably a greenfield site with hotel – it is worth contemplating what could be. Regardless of the site, a new casino-hotel development in Adelaide would be a people magnet and could be leveraged into a larger entertainment/dining/shopping precinct.

If it were near water, it could incorporate a Southbank-style promenade, something Adelaide has had trouble doing in the past.

Even if it were not near water, it could still be a focus for public space, perhaps centred on a giant-screen TV or outdoor stage – a natural gathering point for people to celebrate big events.

You dont have to be a fan of the casino to see how it could transform an area. After all, thousands of people who flock to Southbank never go to the casino there.

As things stand, Adelaides casino is an important part of South Australian life. As well as offering entertainment and gaming, it is the States 10th largest employer and pays about $20 million annually in tax. If it does move to secure its future at a new site, with the right vision, we could all be winners.

Good times ahead

AMID the financial gloom, economic doom and general "well all be rooned" commentary, how refreshing to receive some genuine good news about the future.

South Australias concerted bid to become the nations defence hub is paying off with Federal Government plans for a $30 billion, 12-submarine program to be built in Adelaide.

This adds to a swag of existing top-shelf defence contracts, including the $8 billion Air Warfare Destroyers project. It also adds considerable weight to the State Governments ambitious bid to win more contracts such as for eight frigates and 100 jet fighters.

The submarine contract alone will mean hundreds of skilled jobs for decades to come.

Add BHP Billitons plans to expand its Olympic Dam mine at Roxby Downs – worth $20 billion and 18,000 jobs – and you have a load of positive news for the State.

Plenty of details need to be sorted out, not the least being the huge impact the BHP mine will have on the environment.

However, for a while at least, it is a pleasant change to bask in the warm glow of a positive, optimistic outlook for the future.

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