Payneham Memorial Swimming Centre - Deputation to Council

Deputation to Council April 2nd 2024 – David Cree President

This deputation is made as a result of the decision made by Council in December 2023 to proceed with the Payneham Memorial Swimming Centre in spite of the cost being three times what was expected in 2022, and the effect this will have on the future Council finances.

In 2022 & earlier the pool cost was expected to be about $20m.

In the 2023/4 budget a figure of $24m was used although it was expected that tenders would be in the order of $30m.

We spoke to this when we addressed Council prior to last year’s budget.

When we raised the cost, we were told that after tenders were received all options would be considered, including proceeding, reducing the scope of works or abandoning the proposal.

There was an expectation that there would be some community consultation when the costs were known, as it has been 7 years since any consultation was carried out.

The $60m cost is double that of the similar facilities currently being built at Salisbury.

At the Special Council meeting on 11th December 2023, it was resolved that the report on the pool tender and the discussion of it are to be kept confidential for 5 years.

This shows very poor transparency in Council decisions.

Members should consider revoking the confidentiality resolution now that the

contract has been awarded.

SPRA recognises the right of Council to make decisions on how funds are utilised for the benefit of the community. However, in doing so Council must at all times be aware of the effect on other funding requirements and ensure that the basis of your decision making is transparent, and available for scrutiny by all residents.

The expenditure of $60m on the pool will result in many other projects throughout the City not proceeding. Essential maintenance works will likely be deferred.

The current Long Tern Financial Plan (LTFP) anticipates an 8% increase in rate revenue in 2024/5, the same the following year and 7% in the one after. This is of great concern when the community is worried by a Cost-of-Living crisis.

The Net Financial Liabilities Ratio (NFLR) is the ratio of financial liabilities and borrowings to operating income.

About 80% is considered a prudent maximum for many councils. The LGA suggests a maximum of 100%.

Our ratio will go to 151% in the next few years, second only to the “basket case” of Coober Pedy and above City of Playford which is in some financial difficulty. The SPRA Committee is wondering at what point the Council believes the NFLR is unacceptable.

SPRA will have further comments to make when the current budget is being considered.


In the Council meeting on 8 April 2024 which focused on the 2024-2025 draft budget, the Net Financial Liability Ratio as increased to 165.7%.

Net financial liability ratio from the NPSP draft budget for 2024-2025