A comeback for Port that we all support
30 Aug 2020
Even for those who have been left justifiably sceptical by past false hope, there is now good reason to believe that promise can be realised.
Port Adelaide’s big problem has not been the place itself, with beautiful buildings and its gritty unpretentious appeal, but the lack of people and investment.
Since its heyday as a bustling urban centre, mechanisation at the docks and other business changes have resulted in far fewer people being in the precinct each day to go to pubs and cafes.
There’s been less reason to live there, as jobs moved.
But investors have come back in recent years. Pirate Life’s restoration of a majestic wool shed into a modern boutique beer operation is a great example of the historic being reinvented as new.
Black Diamond corner has an eclectic mix of good, old fashioned working-class drinking pubs and destination restaurants and bars.
Huge private investment is pouring into other housing and hotel developments.
Beneath all of this new optimism sits the almost unfathomably massive investment in local industry and national security that is the future submarine project.
It provides a reliable and long-term pipeline of work.
That must be leveraged to full potential through skills training and spin-offs in research and manufacturing.
This would confirm a sustainable new business ecosystem at Port Adelaide that can stand on its own feet.
But government cannot vacate the field. There is much it can, and must, do to get the settings right.
Public transport must be a big focus, both to get visitors in and let people who want to live in the Port access work closer to town.
A dumped rail extension proposed by the former Labor state government, should be revisited.
As we look for new areas of growth in uncertain and disrupted times, Port Adelaide screams out as a generational opportunity that we must finally and fully grasp.
This article was first published on The Advertiser