Businesses Impacted by Infrastructure Works
John Chapman, Small Business Commissioner (5AA 10.06-10.10) Businesses impacted by infrastructure works
(Byner: I’ve got an email here … by a city resident OAM Bob Parr … in regard to the suggestion businesses hurt by government projects should be compensated let me remind you that because of Mullighan’s Rymill Park tunnel we lost the Royal Hotel at Kent Town … the Rymill Park Kiosk lost nearly 80% of their business, the proprietor had to get another job mid-week, they carried the business right through that period but finally the City Council which did nothing about the toxic water in the lake, the excellent tenant had to walk away. On another occasion when council had resurfaced and line marked Pirie St the workers went home Friday and left the no parking signs up. In this case I sent a text to the then Lord Mayor Martin Haese who had them removed in two hours so customers could park. Then we had Gilbert St where the council were constructing new gutters both sides at the same time, they would often knock off Friday, leave the signs up, Monday would be a rostered day off and sometimes they wouldn’t work Tuesday because it was too hot … recently a bakery closed and several lost jobs because of the prolonged disruption with the South Rd widening. Does anybody care, do they? … There’s a couple of angles to this, it’s not just DPTI, I’ve got a bone to pick with them and … there’s a few people that have but it’s the damn councils as well who seem to have no sense of fairness. We’re not talking doing fairness we’re talking about being fair … John Chapman … why have you taken the view that compensation’s the only way?)
… There’s a lot of things government can do along the way and I use the term government collectively, that means local, state and federal but … there are some businesses that really cannot survive the interruption that occurs from road works and other infrastructure works and there needs to be a process that effectively can take those businesses out and provide fair treatment and … compensation where necessary. A lot of the work can be done up front in terms of trying to sort out some of the issues and recognising the importance of those businesses in the area and working with them and this means the contractors, councils, government, to try and overcome some of the issues but where they can’t be overcome that’s when the issue of compensation and there’s a range of ways that that can be handled should be on the table.
(Byner: When you’ve gone to DPTI do they understand that there is a responsibility on their part to act fairly?)
I think they’re starting to … we’re still on a journey, I’ve been critical of the former government and … the current government because they will just not address the issue of … compensation. In some cases we aren’t talking large amounts, it’s actually about keeping those businesses viable for the period of time and it’s about treating them fairly … what we’ve seen over a long period of time is the imbalance of power, governments do this because they can and without consequence … government has a role to cause no harm and they do, not only financially but some of the businesses I’ve been dealing with the impact on their families and … their mental health is really very, very significant and to me that’s harm.
(Byner: … Stay on the line …)
John Darley, MLC, Advance SA (5AA 10.10-10.13) Businesses impacted by infrastructure works
(Byner: … We’ll get to somebody in a moment who had an altercation, I guess you could call it at least verbal, about an issue that should never have been allowed to happen, it was fixed but … not everybody has the advocacy skills of some in this community … John Darley … you rang me this morning knowing that I was going to talk about this …)
There is nothing difficult about this but DPTI they are not interested in doing anything that’s sensible and if you put your mind to it I agree with John … if you put your mind to it you can work out a solution, it may not even be that expensive but if you’re not interested in doing that and that’s the attitude of DPTI … they will do nothing, they will point to the Land Acquisition Act which quite rightly says if no land is taken no compensation is payable, but this is a separate issue … and it needs to be addressed and … properly.
(Byner: … First rule of a government should be do no harm so shouldn’t there be something in the legislation … forget the word consult because unfortunately we’ve got too many … bright sparks who think they can reinvent what that means, I think what we can do is put into the law ensuring that the people affected have right of access and their customers, couldn’t we do that?)
There’s no question about that … you put your mind to it you can soon work out ways to do that … we had a situation in Bank St where a little hairdresser … was in difficulties because in Adelaide City Council were going to upgrade Bank St, no consideration was given to the tenants … and so they ripped up his footpath you couldn’t even walk on it and so no one would walk down there, I spoke to Martin Haese about it and we came up with a proposal … Adelaide City Council would pay a monetary amount by way of gift vouchers and they would hand these out to people so that if people went there for a haircut they had a $20 discount on that … unfortunately by the time this was worked out it was too late … Martin Haese arranged for the contractors to work at night down there … for the footpath to be renovated and that helped but … we were talking about in that particular case I think it was an argument between $5000, $10,000 and it ended up at about $7500.