Peter Malinauskas, the new Premier of South Australia, has announced that plans for a new arena in Adelaide will be scrapped, with funds to be redirected towards improving the state’s health system.

Labor’s Malinauskas was appointed Premier of South Australia last week, replacing Steven Marshall of the Liberal Party. Marshall unveiled plans for the new 15,000-capacity arena in March 2021 and the venue marked his first major pitch ahead of this year’s state elections.

The project, which had been expected to cost around A$662m (£379m/€453m/$497m), would have replaced the existing Adelaide Entertainment Centre but Malinauskas has today (Monday) confirmed that the new regime will not be moving forward with the plans.

Malinauskas said that A$78m of the funds would be redirected to provide South Australia with 300 extra hospital beds, 10 major hospital upgrades, five new ambulance stations, 14 rebuilt, upgraded or expanded stations, and a new ambulance HQ. The remainder of the funds will be allocated in the June budget.

In a statement, Malinauskas said: “The basketball stadium was a nice idea and it would have been nice to have, but getting an ambulance on time when you call triple zero is something we all need to have.

“This is all about priorities and I made it clear in the lead-up to the election that my priority was to invest more money in our health system.”

The Marshall government’s bid to develop the arena had been boosted in November last year after the City Council reversed track on their opposition to the controversial project, but the plans have now been scrapped.

The arena would have hosted concerts, conventions and court sports, including basketball, netball and tennis, but the Labor party had previously pledged that it would scrap the plans if it won this year’s state election.

Adelaide Entertainment Centre currently has a total capacity of 11,300, with only 9,600 for basketball and netball, and construction of the new arena had been pencilled in to commence when major works for a new Women’s and Children’s Hospital are estimated to conclude in 2025.

Image: Steven Marshall (Facebook)