MELBOURNE'S Lord Mayor Robert Doyle has angered Premier Mike Rann by suggesting Adelaide has "so little going for it that it should be shut down".
Mr Doyle made the comments in a Melbourne newspaper interview marking his first 100 days as Lord Mayor.
Adding to his critiques of other capital cities - he described Greater Brisbane as "almost a contradiction in terms" and Sydney as a city with a wallet instead of a heart" – Mr Doyle said you could not even compare Adelaide to Melbourne, so devoid was it of redeeming qualities.
"We should immediately commence the orderly shutdown of Adelaide,""he said.
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But Mr Doyle's comments have provoked an angry reaction from state leaders, including Premier Mike Rann.
"They (Victorians) are so defensive," Mr Rann said.
"It's so interesting.
"They want to stop water flowing across the border, they want to treat the River Murray as if it's a river in four parts rather than one."
Mr Rann described Mr Doyle as "a failed Liberal Opposition Leader and he's got the second prize of Lord Mayor of Melbourne".
"No one's going to take much notice of him because no one takes much notice of him in Melbourne either," Mr Rann said.
Mr Doyle, a former Victorian state opposition leader, who has been praised for re-engaging Town Hall in debate about the city, is asking people to be patient and realise he has little power as Lord Mayor. "I see myself more as a catalyst, as a lever, as an influencer," he said.
Mr Rann said Victorians hated the fact that the Tour Down Under had been such a success.
"They don't like the fact about Clipsal, they don't like the fact that our festival and film festival are the best in the nation – that the Fringe is the best in the country," Mr Rann said.
"Basically it's a new Lord Mayor who is trying to make a name for himself. He has been sledging every other city around Australia.
"Why doesn't he concentrate on doing his job rather than basically what appears to be city envy."
Opposition Leader Martin Hamilton-Smith said it sounded like Mr Doyle and Victorian Premier John Brumby (who last year called Adelaide a "backwater") had been having a few sherries at the Melbourne Club.
"I think we should cut the rope to Mr Doyle's dinghy and let him sail off to Antarctica," he said.
"They both sound out of touch."
Adelaide Lord Mayor Michael Harbison said Mr Doyle's comments, if quoted accurately, were "a bit silly" but there was a "grain of truth".
"I believe Melbourne does, in fact, pose a real threat to us, losing our young people," he said.
"(Our capital) could be effectively ceded to Melbourne if we don't get on with improving our city and building a critical mass of residents and workers in the CBD."
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