City of dreams

The rot finally set into the Multifunction Polis, the brave new world concept of a city where work and leisure, lifetime education and intercultural exchange, research and manufacturing blossomed in the unlikely north Adelaide suburb of Gillman.

Started in 1987 by the Hawke government, the MFP was a joint venture between the n and Japanese governments but by 1994 the stock market crash, recession and ennui had put paid to castles in the air.

Labor governments over the years had shelled out $92 million to the MFP and now the Keating Cabinet was looking at ways of getting out from carrying the burden.

A submission to Cabinet in April 1994 said a Bureau of Industry Economics review had found the federal and South n governments had not worked together effectively on the project and the perception that ‘s performance on MFP has not matched its early optimistic and the somewhat unrealistic rhetoric leading to some negative international reaction suggested that the Commonwealth should withdraw funding sooner rather than later.

“The location of MFP in Adelaide has made it more difficult to attract private sector participation than originally envisaged. While Adelaide is suitable for the urban development side of the project, business development is likely always to be weaker than on the east coast,” Cabinet was told.

But withdrawal was abridge too far and in September 1994 Cabinet extended its financial commitment to the MFP by $4 million and to review the situation at the end of 1995.

The years later the MFP was abandoned.

City of dreams: The Multifunction Polis in Adelaide, an attempt to blend work and lifestyle, burnt money for years but even the cost-cutting Keating government was too timid to ditch it. Photo: Fairfax Media

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