The end days of the Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers saga involving the timber company building a deep-water harbour facility on the island played out in the South Australian Parliament this week.
And it looks like it could cost the State’s Attorney General, who is also Planning Minister and Deputy Premier, her job.
SA’s Governor will be asked to sack Deputy Premier Vickie Chapman as Attorney-General after State Parliament on Thursday passed a no-confidence motion against her.
The no-confidence motion stated the lower house “no longer had confidence in the Member for Bragg” to continue as Deputy Premier, Attorney-General and Planning and Local Government Minister.
The motion stems from a decision by Ms Chapman, as State Planning Minister, to reject the application by KIPT for the port facility and whether she had a conflict of interest when she made the decision to refuse the application from which timber would have been shipped off the island.
A House of Assembly Select Committee hearing into her conduct found Ms Chapman had an actual and perceived conflict of interest, breached the ministerial code of conduct and misled parliament on three occasions.
Following Ms Chapman’s decision, KIPT – now known as Kiland – announced it would remove its tree crop and return its land to traditional agricultural use.
It was proposed to export timber from the island via the proposed port at Smith Bay, solving a decades-long question over how to transfer the wood to the mainland and markets overseas.
Ms Chapman is a sixth-generation local on Kangaroo Island, where she remains a landholder and farmer, which was the basis of the conflict claim.
She is not the MP for the electorate covering Kangaroo Island.
Of course, there were many more political twists and turns than just the vote on Thursday but, suffice to say, Ms Chapman and the Premier Steven Marshall are in an awkward position.
She has consistently denied doing anything wrong; he has said he fully supports her and will not contemplate sacking her.
The really sad thing is that – regardless of all this – the much-needed port on Kangaroo Island will still not go ahead, regardless of who gets, or doesn’t, get sacked over the debacle.
The island loses a resource, an employer and the valuable income both supply.