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South Australian Government resumes management of the SA Travel Centre

South Australian Government resumes management of the SA Travel Centre
February 28, 2012

The South Australian Government has taken back control of a tourism visitor centre it privatised last year.

South Australian Tourism Minister Gail Gago has revealed that a new arrangement had been reached between the State Government and Holidays of Australia, which took over the visitor centre, located on Grenfell Street in the Adelaide CBD, last year amid controversy over the process.

Minister Gago told the Adelaide Now website "this has been a very disappointing outcome."

Holidays of Australia won a three-year contract to operate the South Australian Travel Centre - prompting criticism of favouritism as its owner, Ben Mead, was the son-in-law of the then SA Tourism Commission Chairman Bob Foord.

Foord denied there was anything improper about the selection process but resigned from his post in July, saying the privatisation of the travel centre would be "hindered" if he stayed in the job.

The South Australian Government had put the travel centre operations out to private tender last March to save what Treasury estimated to be $900,000 a year. Less than six months after taking charge, Holidays of Australia told the South Australian Government it could not meet its obligations and that the centre was placing the company under financial stress.

Minister Gago said an agreement for the Government to take over the centre and run it until 30th June had now been signed and that Holidays of Australia would not be paid any compensation.

The Minister stated "the agreement means no further claims will be made against the Government," adding that "the employment of five staff will be $30,000 a month until the end of June."

Minister Gago said that the Centre's operations would now be reviewed, which would result in a new plan and focus for the centre, adding that employment would be offered to visitor

Minister Gago said she had no issues with the performance of SA Tourism Commission Chief Executive Ian Derbyshire.

Image: Seals on Kangaroo Island.

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