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Weatherill slams "Old Adelaide" food truck opponents

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The city council’s crackdown on CBD food trucks is a vestige of “Old Adelaide” trying to “protect vested interests”, Jay Weatherill says.

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The Premier vented his spleen on morning radio today, telling FIVEaa “the more I think about it the angrier I get” and telling ABC891 the crackdown was perpetrated by “the same people that opposed the upgrade of the Adelaide Oval, the new Royal Adelaide Hospital, the introduction of the trams, anything new”.

“Anybody that’s got an established interest and doesn’t want things to change, they’re the people that are holding back this state and we need to do new things in new ways,” he said.

Weatherill has flagged a move to overrule council’s decision to limit the number of food trucks allowed to operate in the city to 10 on any given day.

“I just don’t know why they stuck their oar into this issue, something that was working well,” he said.

“The only reason that they stuck their oar into this issue is because they had a number of existing businesses that put the pressure on and it’s just not the role for council to be intervening in the market in this way.”

He suggested Lord Mayor Martin Haese had been sidelined by the decision.

The added restriction was pushed by Deputy Mayor Houssam Abiad after a meeting with city property owners and bricks-and-mortar business owners on Monday this week, which was also attended by Haese.

Weatherill said Haese had been “trying to take this council, continue the vibrancy agenda…he tried to do the right thing”.

But Haese appeared on fiveAA to deny any council split, saying there had been “a great deal of consultation” with property owners, established business owners and food truck vendors.

“We had retailers in here in tears,” he said.

“What we’re after is to find the appropriate balance, and I think we’ve found that.”

But no sooner had the Lord Mayor denied he presided over a divided council than councilor Phil Martin called in to denounce the decision as “flawed” and “policy on the run”.

He said the 10-truck limit was first proposed late on Tuesday afternoon, before the 6pm council meeting at which it was endorsed.

“We need a reasoned decision, not this crazy stuff,” he said.

“We need a much more considered approach.”

But Abiad told ABC the council was not for turning.

“The position of council as of Tuesday is fixed,” he said.

“Times are really tough at the moment out there and the supply is definitely (outstripping) the demand, we don’t have enough demand in the state at the moment.”

Labor backbencher Chris Picton joined the fray in parliament, saying Haese had been “rolled” and “these conservative councillors are making a mockery of themselves”.

“The truth is that these conservatives hold themselves out as capitalists – but are really protectionists who do not support the benefits of competition in our state,” he said.

“They’re interested in the current vested interests keeping their share of the pie – rather than growing the pie.”

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