September 7, 2021

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Photo: Smith Bay (c) Phyll Bartram, Hope Spot Champion

Kangaroo Island, Australia (August 2021)


The application submitted to build a deep-water port facility at Smith Bay, Australia by Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers (KIPT) has been rejected by Vickie Chapman, Minister for Planning and Local Government. Chapman quoted  potential long-term and irreversible impacts on the environment, local business and character of Kangaroo Island in her decision.

“I am aware my decision will have an impact on the local timber industry, and I can assure South Australians that I will continue to search for a sustainable solution for this industry on Kangaroo Island,” Chapman said.

Tony Bartram, Champion of Kangaroo Island North Coast Hope Spot, shares his support of the decision. “Through a multi-year campaign we sought to educate at multiple levels about the beautiful blue space we have – the oceans – in the hope of informing decision-making processes. In this instance, it has resulted in a courageous, informed decision. How absolutely fantastic!” Phyll Bartram, Champion of Kangaroo Island North Coast Hope Spot, adds, “Thanks to all who contributed to the outcome of this journey, in particular our fellow Hope Spot Champions, AusOcean, and the result is in no small part due to the Hope Spot designation which was so timely. Our grateful thanks to wonderful Dr. Sylvia Earle, Mission Blue and all concerned in this magnificent initiative to save our precious marine environments.”

While the State Planning Commission’s Assessment Report resolved the application as “finely balanced”, it highlighted a range of matters that would require significant and ongoing management in order to mitigate negative outcomes.

“This was a difficult decision and one I have not made lightly,”  Minister Chapman explains. “The Assessment Report was line-ball, however, I have come to the conclusion that the possible long-term and irreparable damage the wharf could cause to the Island is a risk I am not willing to take.” She continues, “Key factors included the impact on surrounding businesses, the marine environment, as well as biosecurity risks to neighboring tourism and aquaculture businesses. “I am aware my decision will have an impact on the local timber industry, and I can assure South Australians that I will continue to search for a sustainable solution for this industry on Kangaroo Island,” she said.

She elaborates, “…I am not satisfied that the impacts identified by the Commission can be monitored, managed or mitigated to the extent that the risk of adverse outcomes can be properly managed to a degree that would warrant development approval”.

To learn more about the Kangaroo Island North Coast Hope Spot, read the Ocean Story and explore the interactive StoryMap, hosted on Esri. 

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