Martindale Hall- One year on still no answers
A year ago, a community meeting in Clare strongly endorsed keeping the iconic heritage property Martindale Hall in public ownership. The meeting was addressed by Shadow Minister for the Environment and Conservation, The Honourable Michelle Lensink MLC, who called on the Government to guarantee continued public ownership of Martindale Hall and suggested exploring more innovative approaches to fundraising to support ongoing maintenance costs for the Hall. Local State MP and Government Minister The Honourable Geoff Brock MP told the meeting that Cabinet had not considered a sale.
Fast forward one year and we are still waiting for the Government to rule out a sale of this iconic property. In April, the National Trust wrote to the Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, The Honourable Ian Hunter MLC, proposing a solution for the future management of Martindale Hall that would maintain public ownership and explore more innovative approaches to fundraising to support maintenance costs. It was August before the Minister met with representatives of the Trust who were then told that the Government had now entered into an ‘exclusive negotiation’ period with the proponents of an ‘unsolicited bid’ to turn Martindale Hall into an exclusive ‘wellness retreat’.
From August to October the Government undertook a community consultation process on the unsolicited bid, the results of which were overwhelmingly opposed to the proposal. A further submission from the unsolicited bid proponents was due at the end of October, but the Government has gone completely silent on its deliberations.
In November Michelle Lensink sought further advice from Minister Ian Hunter about the assessment process for the unsolicited bid. Her office has shared the advice received from the Government which we now share here:
The Department (DEWNR) is now analysing all the feedback from the consultation process. They will then summarise this information and make recommendations for Cabinet to consider. They will deliver this to Minister Hunter who will then take to Cabinet (when he chooses to do so).
The collating will take a few weeks and then it will be up to Cabinet about how long they take to make a decision.
Before it goes to Cabinet the Department will go back over and ensure the bid meets the “unsolicited bid” guidelines (quality check).
The Government will need to consider the economic effect of the proposal to the State before they make a decision.
If a decision is made by Cabinet to proceed, they will go into Stage 3 negotiation process [under the unsolicited bid guidelines].
The only approximate timeframes were – recommendations to Cabinet by the end of this year, Cabinet decision start of next year.
The Department will consider providing a summary report of all the information – however they had not really considered it. They will let [the Shadow Minister] know if they intend to release a ‘summary document’ of the consultation.
They described the consultation process as very thorough, an “exhaustive consultation process”.
The unsolicited bid has provided architect drawings even though they have not 100% not settled on what they would do.
At this stage the Government has no plans to undertake any further community consultation.
In the absence of any other information from the Government, the National Trust has initiated a petition to Parliament opposing the sale of Martindale Hall. The Honorable Robert Brokenshire MLC for Family First tabled the petition in Parliament last week. It calls on the government to:
1.Prevent the sale and redevelopment of Martindale Hall; and
2.To honour the intention of the original bequest of the Mortlock family by ensuring that Martindale Hall remains in trust for the people of South Australia.
We encourage anyone who is concerned about the future of Martindale Hall to download the petition here: Martindale Hall 2015 Petition to Parliament and collect signatures to let the Parliament know your opposition to this proposal. You need to return the completed forms to the National Trust of South Australia at 631 Glynburn Road Beaumont, SA 5066. They must be original signatures, copies are not acceptable. There is some background information about the campaign you can also download here: JOIN THE CAMPAIGN TO SAVE MARTINDALE HALL
We are pleased to advise that we have had messages of support from a number of other upper house MPs including The Honourable Kelly Vincent Dignity for Disability MLC, The Honourable Mark Parnell Greens MLC and The Honourable John Darley Independent MLC. The Opposition, through The Honourable Michelle Lensink MLC and other Liberal MPs have also offered their support.
We look forward to your ongoing support too.