As 2020 draws to a close, the opportunity to look back on the past 12 months reveals a surprising yet affirming insight into what Renewal SA has been able to achieve this year.
It would have been easy to assume our efforts were hamstrung by COVID-19. In reality, we achieved a great deal—a fact which makes me both proud of our people and eager to continue building on this momentum.
The year started with a new executive team and a realignment of our organisational structure. These changes were made to drive and support our updated Renewal SA Strategic Plan 2020–23.
It’s an approach that is already strengthening partnerships and relationships with industry and other agencies. It has also underpinned many of our achievements this year, across all four of our strategic pillars—people, partnerships, pipeline and projects. A few of these highlights include:
Our people have proven to be resilient and adaptable as we have continued to successfully deliver our work effectively under constantly changing conditions.
In December 2019, we launched our Reconciliation Action Plan. The plan has guided our organisation on a journey towards a reconciled future for Australian and Torres Strait Islander communities and non-Indigenous peoples and committed us to action.
At Lot Fourteen this year, we worked with Kaurna representatives to rename the Allied Health Building to Marniri-apinthi, which means to innovate, to improve on what was. Our Toolbox Yarns initiative was also rolled out among site contractors to build awareness and understanding of Kaurna culture and heritage.
In response to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, our Asset Management team managed more than 100 requests for rent relief and around $2.5 million has been provided to our tenants experiencing financial hardship.
We established an Affordable Housing team to contribute to the delivery of the Our Housing Future 2020–2023 strategy and partnered with the SA Housing Authority to invite expressions of interest (EOI) from the building and development sectors to increase the supply of land and projects for affordable housing in the state. In 2021, we will be rolling out projects identified through this EOI with the $75.6 million housing stimulus package that was announced in the recent State Budget.
We entered an agreement to sell the Fort Largs site to PEET on behalf of SAPOL. This will create hundreds of jobs through the delivery of new dwellings—including 50 affordable homes—on the site.
Also this year, we negotiated an agreement for Naval Group to lease Port Adelaide TAFE, making Port Adelaide home to the group’s new headquarters and about 350 employees. Renewal SA also continues to act for multiple agencies of government locally to drive investment and redevelopment in both city and regional areas.
Our projects are progressing well. Strong sales across Playford Alive and The Square at Woodville West were supported by the Federal Government’s HomeBuilder initiative. At Playford Alive, this meant significant civil works associated with the creation of allotments to meet demand. At Woodville West, most residential lots are sold out with only one retail residential lot remaining.
The first 50 of 650 dwellings at Dock One in Port Adelaide were completed by Starfish Developments with a further 50 now underway. The Port Adelaide community will continue to grow and thrive in 2021 as Cedar Woods starts to build the first of 500 homes in the Fletcher’s Slip development.
Through our Works Program, we have continued to deliver training, work experience and jobs at our urban renewal projects. There were 77 participants engaged in training programs throughout the 2019–20 financial year and 44 of them gained employment.
At Lot Fourteen, work commenced on the Bice Building, the last heritage building to be refurbished, while the new Community café and wine bar opened and fitout on the new Space Discovery Centre began, and the state was able to secure a developer partner for the new Entrepreneur and Innovation Centre which will house a range of defence, education and related commercial tenants.
Our renewed pipeline focus ensures that there is an emphasis towards future development opportunities, and that we are helping to attract investment and property-based jobs in our state.
This year, we purchased two new sites for development—Forestville and Prospect—and released several opportunities to the industry including a 52-hectare development at Oakden and the EOI to deliver the Lot Fourteen Entrepreneur and Innovation Centre.
All this activity highlights our mission to lead, support and drive investment growth with the private sector through property and projects. We remain committed to building on this momentum, as evidenced by our focus on delivering for today while maintaining a firm eye on securing pipeline projects for the future.
I wish you all a safe, happy, and healthy festive season and look forward to another year of transformational projects and property in 2021.
Chris Menz, Chief Executive