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"ALP heartland": Labor urged to fight for Shed 26

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The Adelaide sub-branch of the Labor Party has passed a motion deploring the demolition of Port Adelaide’s Shed 26, calling on the State Opposition to advocate for its preservation.

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The motion, moved by Maritime Workers’ Union SA branch secretary Jamie Newlyn, urges the Labor Party to campaign for the preservation of the Port’s historical and cultural heritage.

“The Adelaide Sub-Branch deplores the Marshall State Government’s intervention in removing the Independent Heritage Commission’s determination that Shed 26 in Glanville, Port Adelaide, which meets the criteria for heritage listing,” it reads.

“The Adelaide Sub-Branch therefore calls on the State ALP Opposition to publicly declare and campaign with the Lefevre Community, trade unions and interest groups to preserve the cultural, historical trade union and community culture of a working Port.

“The adaptive reuse and readoption possibilities of the area are many and will add to the amenity and economic benefit of the area rather than accommodation blocks in a satellite town where residents travel in and out of the suburb.”

Newlyn told InDaily the motion was passed unanimously and that he hoped this meant the parliamentary wing of the Labor Party would bring the fight to the government on the subject.

“Port Adelaide is Labor heartland, hence why they would have some concern and be interested in the project,” he said, adding that state Port Adelaide MP Susan Close and federal Port Adelaide MP Mark Butler had already lent their support for the Save Shed 26 campaign.

Close said in a statement this afternoon that members of the Government should “rethink their attitude to heritage and to Port Adelaide”.

“The Minister for the Environment, David Speirs, removed Shed 26 from the heritage register so that it could be demolished,” she said.

“The Government has chosen not to invest to save the shed – the developers have been clear they would restore the shed with government support. 

“Instead the Minister for the Environment has been selling off heritage – like Edmund Wright House and Cummins House – but is refusing to reinvest in the state’s heritage with the profits.”

It follows a decision by the Port Adelaide Enfield Council on Tuesday to seek a meeting with the State Government and developer Cedar Woods to express its concern over the demolition of the historic boat shed.

Heritage advocates argue the demolition of Shed 26 – a historic sawtooth dockyards boat shed – constitutes the destruction of Port Adelaide history.

CFMEU assistant branch secretary Colin Fenney was arrested during protests against the demolition last month.

The Construction Union has also warned that workers and locals may have been exposed to asbestos dust during the initial stages of the demolition last month.

The Save Shed 26 campaign has argued the building should be adaptively reused as part of Cedar Woods’ Fletcher’s Slip housing development.

Newlyn said that if the shed is demolished, he and other advocates want Cedar Woods to replace it with a similar building in order to respect Port heritage.

The development involves 500 architecturally designed houses, waterfront promenade parks, refurbishment an original slipway and the refurbishment of existing State Heritage-listed buildings.

Cedar Woods has argued there is no “viable” way to adaptively reuse the building.

The Government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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