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A decision to scrap train services on the weekend of the Test match will not be reversed despite a public backlash and concerns that Adelaide’s reputation to host high-level cricket is being damaged.
The Advertiser understands Cricket Australia is furious at the situation that has unfolded over the past two days. Its officials are “concerned” about Adelaide’s ability to host future international matches if “decisions that work against fans” continue.
It comes at a time where competition for international cricket is fiercer than ever, following the completion of the new Perth Stadium, Canberra becoming Australia’s latest Test venue and Adelaide already losing its prized Australia Day match.
A Cricket Australia spokesman said despite running the Adelaide Oval Test, it was informed via the media of the decision to shift a planned closure of all train lines from this weekend to next weekend.
“Cricket Australia is required as a special event organiser to develop and pay for a special event transport plan following consultation at the direction of the minister,” a spokesman said.
“This plan was delivered in July. There was no forewarning from the Government that this interruption posed a risk to services and there was no consultation ahead of the decision.” The decision was described as an “an outrageous situation” by Transport Minister Stephan Knoll. But it won’t be reversed, despite strong lobbying from the SA Cricket Association and the Stadium Management Authority.
If the required work on the train line and network does not occur next weekend, it would have to have been delayed for six months.
After meeting Mr Knoll yesterday in a bid to reverse the decision, SACA chief executive Keith Bradshaw admitted there would be “some impact” on the crowd for next week’s Test against India.
“It’s really a case of now rolling up our sleeves and getting on with coming up with a plan,” he said.
Crowds flock in to the new Southern Stand before the start of play. Picture: Calum RobertsonTrains will be out of action next weekend because of the relocation of the Operations Control Centre, adjacent to the Royal Adelaide Hospital, to Dry Creek.
International experts will be in Adelaide next weekend to oversee the relocation and were not available at other times, Mr Knoll said.
He conceded that the situation “should not have been allowed to happen”.
“But there are some unavoidable reasons why we have had to make this decision.
“We have global experts in Adelaide at the moment to get this done and we need to make sure this works.” Mr Knoll said it was critical that these experts oversaw the relocation – but the State Government would throw “every available resource” at getting fans to the cricket.
Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas said it was “arguably one of the biggest public transport stuff-ups in history”.
“It’s an appalling decision … (Premier) Steven Marshall should get on the phone and overturn this decision,” he said.
Mr Marshall brushed aside calls for him to intervene, saying it would be delayed for six months otherwise and “shunt a whole pile of other important state projects”. “It’s a very complex movement,” he said.
Mr Knoll said Labor had closed the Gawler, Grange and Outer Harbor lines during the Ashes Test. “Last year we had record crowds and we were able to cope with three lines down during the Test,” he said.
A Labor spokesman said there was “a world of difference” between last year’s closure because of the Torrens Junction Project and this year’s “with littler warning and no consultation”.
A Transport Department spokesman said: “It should be noted that Carols by Candlelight is scheduled for the following weekend and the weekend after that is the last weekend before Christmas, which is important for city traders.”
Trains will be out of action next weekend because of the relocation of the Operations Control Centre, adjacent to the Royal Adelaide Hospital, to Dry Creek.Hundreds of people took to The Advertiser’s website and Facebook page, most expressing their frustration and disappointment.
“Welcome to South Australia, the state with no idea no matter who’s in power,” wrote Vince on Advertiser.com.au.
Romeo added: “More stupid Adelaide material. Why not the first week of January or this weekend?”
Peter wrote: “It seems this Liberal government has an overwhelming desire to be stupider than the discredited Labor government that preceded it. Hard to do, I know, but they are giving it a good go.”
Sarah said: “Change the date, surely its not hard.”
Suzanne called for the Transport Minister Stephan Knoll to intervene in the “idiotic decision”.
This article first appeared on www.adelaidenow.com.au
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