Some of you may recall a series of advertisements for West End beer, the premise of which was South Australians don’t need to drink beer made interstate, when there is a perfectly good product made here at home.
The ads were a little corny – see for yourself http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feqS9VhAQco - but the concept was sound. There is a lot to be proud of in this State.
Last month I was invited to speak at the NSW UDIA state conference held in Sydney.
The program for the day included a NSW Government Minister, the NSW Opposition Leader, the former Treasurer of the United States of America, the Managing Director and Global Head of Economics & Research at Westpac, the Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney.
I guess it allowed me to follow the marketing team at West End brewery, and boast about some of the hidden wonders of our City and State. It’s possible I too lacked a great deal of sophisticated wit, but felt my message was equally meritorious.
In my opening comments, I posed the question to the audience: Why am I here?
Why have I been brought over from Adelaide to speak at a conference of this standing in Sydney?
I then did a fine Kevin Rudd impersonation, and set about answering my own questions.
I replied to myself:
I think I am here because I have had the privilege of having a key role in rebuilding what is now the best cricket and footy ground in the country.
Those of you here from Sydney may protest, I said. You may think this mantle should fall to the SCG or ANZ Stadium.
But Adelaide Oval has one thing going for it the SCG or ANZ Stadium can never replicate. We have location, location, location.
You can leave our city’s main shopping strip, and after just a few Mark Ricciuto drop-punts, you will be walking through our main City Railway Station, across a magnificent character footbridge and into the southern gates of our Oval.
You can’t do that in Sydney.
Even in Melbourne you’ll most likely catch a tram from the City to get somewhere near the vicinity of the MCG.
Ours is a City Stadium, set in the parklands and easily accessible. This is Adelaide.
By comparison, the experience of ANZ Stadium is like listening to someone tell a long-winded joke: It takes a long time to get there, and it’s not all that pleasant when you do.
The second point I made was about our tram through the city. Sydney has talked for years about running a tram down George Street, I said. I showed them a slide of our trams in King William Street. While Sydney is still talking about it, Adelaide has done it.
And thirdly, I directed their attention to our Aquatic and Leisure Centre, which my department built down at Marion. The national titles, with our country’s best swimmers, are coming back here again this year, the third time in four years.
A few years ago, I heard Australia’s elite swimmers rate our pool the second best in the world.
And this is what I told my Sydney audience: Adelaide’s pool is the second best to Beijing, not Sydney. Better than the pool built for the Sydney Olympics.
I haven’t checked their views since the London Olympics. We may be third best in the world now. But we are still better than Sydney.
It is so easy for us as South Australians to undervalue who we are and what we have. We see ourselves as poor relations to the eastern states.
Yet we are so fortunate. Our lifestyle leaves Sydney for dead.
We do have the best oval in the best location. Our City has a new vibrancy largely on the back of this investment.
We have roads relatively free of congestion. We don’t pay tolls on any of our roads. Northern (Max Fatchen) Expressway, Southern Expressway, the Superway, Gallipoli Underpass, Bakewell Underpass are just some of the recent initiatives built to keep us moving.
Despite the hysteria over Britannia, we now have the best double roundabout in Australia.
The Glenelg Tramline with the tram and cycle overpass on South Road and the extension to the Entertainment Centre work a treat for our City.
The extension through the City eventuated despite allegations Father Christmas would be electrocuted (I’m not making this up) and the trams do actually fit under Morphett Street bridge. (Yes, many doomsayers said this too).
Although there is still more to do, we have modernised our train network. It delivers a good service.
We have more prospects for development of our resources into the future than any other State
We are again extending our magnificent Convention Centre and we have recently added a new entry statement and a smaller theatre at the Entertainment Centre.
There is work pending in the Festival Centre precinct.
We have the best looking medical research building and our newest hospital is taking shape.
The City Council is investing in Rundle Mall and Victoria Square. Our Central Markets continue to be one of our state’s real icons.
Our beaches, the Adelaide Hills and our regions are don’t disappoint. Kangaroo Island, the Flinders Ranges, gateway to the Outback, Eyre Peninsula, Yorke Peninsula, the Riverland and the Limestone Coast. They’re all uniquely South Australian and worth a visit.
Our weather is second to none. We don’t seem to get the annual mini-disasters those in the north and east of our country experience all too frequently. Unlike Brisbane, you don’t have to sit on your roof in Adelaide to keep your feet dry.
Bushfires may be an ever-present threat for us, but we tend not to build in floodplains.
We are a city resplendent with cafes and restaurants with ample opportunities to sample beverages produced here in South Australia.
A few years ago I may have only referred here to our wonderful South Australian wines.
But, having earlier mentioned West End, I can’t overlook that other South Australian brewery – and my chat with the ‘stout-hearted’ Glenn Cooper. I’ve heard his message.
We are not only defined by our wines. The largest Australian-owned brewery, and the world’s largest producer of home brewing-kits, Coopers, is here in Adelaide.
And if you can’t get what you want here, Melbourne and Sydney are only an hour or two away for a lazy weekend.
Sure there a few things here we may all want to whinge about. But not a lot. Personally, I would like our sporting teams to win a bit more. And I want to see Roger Federer play in Adelaide at a revamped tennis centre before I die, or he does, whichever comes first.
So next time you’re grizzling about life in Adelaide, ask yourself this:
Why would you want to live anywhere else?