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Premier takes control of old RAH site; Uni's reputational sh*tstorm

Notes on Adelaide

In today’s Notes on Adelaide, Premier Steven Marshall takes ministerial control of the old Royal Adelaide Hospital site’s redevelopment and the University of Adelaide suffers a global hit thanks to a single, misleading photo.

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Instagram account hits uni’s reputation

The popular “ShitAdelaide” Instagram account sometimes has far too much traction in the mainstream media, as the University of Adelaide discovered this week to its detriment.

The account reposted an image late last week from another Instagram user which purported to show a university advertising hoarding outside the old Royal Adelaide Hospital site.

ShitAdelaide’s original post.

The post, which captured the “mansplaining” zeitgeist in its unintentionally hilarious choice of image, went viral, being covered across Australia and the world on serious news sites including, astoundingly, the BBC.

However, all was not as it seemed: it wasn’t an ad for the university at all. Rather it was part of a hoarding put up by Renewal SA, the government agency which is handling the redevelopment of the old RAH site. The university says the photo was “deliberately angled and cropped to suggest that the image is directly related to the University, which it is not”.

The actual university advertisement.

University PR staff have been trying to stomp out the misinformation, with varying degrees of success. There are still countless reports out there ridiculing the university for its supposed choice of image.

ShitAdelaide did make an effort to fix the misinterpretation but, in doing so, wrongly impugned the reputation of another organisation. They claimed it was an ad for “Renew Adelaide” – “a Government jobs for the boys program”. Wrong again – Renew Adelaide, a non-profit organisation that connects creative businesses with vacant commerical sites, had nothing to do with the hoarding.

Renewal SA has now taken action to reduce the damage, removing the shot altogether. Notes on Adelaide can also reveal that the image is not stock – but real university students.

“The photograph in discussion was taken from a series of engagement workshops held with real university students to showcase talented students actively expressing ideas for the future of the old Royal Adelaide Hospital site,” a Renewal SA spokesperson said.

“The image taken was not a staged photo shoot, and intended to help promote the site and attract future business leaders, entrepreneurs, and start-ups to be a part of Australia’s first creation and innovation neighbourhood.

“In recognition of the personal impact of the social media speculation for the individuals in the image, the image was replaced with details about the upcoming Open Day on Wednesday 11 July.

“The images on the hoarding boundary are expected to change over the evolution of the project to reflect our continuous engagement with stakeholders, community and on site activation experiences.”

Renewal SA has papered over its “mansplaining”.

Premier takes control of old RAH redevelopment

Transport, Infrastructure and Planning Minister Stephan Knoll has been following a practice commonly used by his Labor predecessor John Rau – delegating his development and planning powers to other ministers.

In recent weeks, he’s delegated various planning powers to Treasurer Rob Lucas, including in relation to a development plan amendment down south (which he believed had some potential to cross over with his family’s business interests in the Barossa).

He’s also delegated all powers under the Urban Renewal Act over the redevelopment of the old Royal Adelaide Hospital site to Premier Steven Marshall.

Marshall told InDaily today that he had decided to take personal responsibility for the site’s redevelopment, which will involve multiple departments and stakeholders.

“It’s better coordinated out of the Premier’s Department rather than DPTI,” he said.

Describing the project as the most exciting urban redevelopment opportunity in Australia at the moment, Marshall flagged a consultative approach to achieving his vision for the site, which includes a new hospitality school, a hub for entrepreneurs and innovation, and a national Aboriginal arts and culture gallery.

The Government still had some time on its side to finalise all of its plans, due to the long lead time for demolition of some of the old hospital’s non-heritage buildings and remediation of the land.

“We don’t need to rush and arrive at the wrong outcome and disenfranchise groups,” he said. “We are talking constantly to as many stakeholders as possible.”

However, the Premier said he wanted to avoid the stasis that occurred under the previous Labor Government, which chopped and changed its plans for the site.

“People won’t have to wait for very long to get more information,” he said.

“I’m really excited to be taking over responsibility for this site – it’s an incredible opportunity.”

The aforementioned Renewal SA remains the technical owner of the site and is managing an updated masterplan, Marshall said.

Notes On Adelaide is a new column telling the inside stories of Adelaide people, institutions and issues. If you have information that you believe should be noted in this column, send us an email: editorial@solsticemedia.com.au

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