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KIPT lodges response document to seaport plan

Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers reached the final milestone in its development application for the Kangaroo Island Seaport recently with the lodging of its formal response document. Source: Timberbiz

The document addresses issues raised by government agencies and the community in either the first or second round of public consultation undertaken by the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure last year.

KIPT managing director Keith Lamb said many of the comments received in the initial eight-week public consultation had been addressed by the change in marine design announced in September 2019, which was the subject of a further six-week public consultation.

“More broadly, wherever possible, KIPT has sought to listen to the community and to respond positively and constructively to every comment, so that the project delivers the greatest possible benefits to the community with the least possible environmental effects,” Mr Lamb said.

He thanked all who had taken the time to make a submission, whether supportive or otherwise.

“The end result is a better project and one of which the community can be justly proud,” Mr Lamb said.

He said the change in marine design had assuaged the greatest concerns of its aquaculture neighbour Yumbah about potential marine impacts – a claim dismissed by Yumbah – and that the Response Document addressed all other remaining issues.

The Response Document is, effectively, the final part of the Environmental Impact Statement, upon which DPTI will base the planning assessment report for approval by the Minister for Planning Stephan Knoll and, separately, the federal Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley.

Mr Knoll will determine when to make the Response Document public. There is no provision in the process for further public submissions or for appeals against the Minister’s decision.

Mr Lamb said that despite the “considerable challenges” the summer had presented for the company, work on the Response Document had continued. He thanked KIPT’s Approvals Manager Peter Lockett, the project team at Environmental Projects and the many independent experts who had assisted.

“Once approval is obtained for the KI Seaport, the company and its partners will be able to make further announcements on the significant employment growth created through the construction, and subsequent start-up phase of harvesting and replanting,’’ he said.

“The infrastructure created by the Kangaroo Island Seaport development will also provide alternative access for freight to and from the Island.

“This could help in times of crisis, such as the recent bushfires, when there was an urgent need to import fodder for grazing animals and defence force equipment and material. Similarly, there will be international containerised freight opportunities that do not currently exist. The company anticipates that the infrastructure could have other uses, all subject to regulatory approval,” Mr Lamb said.

However, David Connell, Yumbah Kangaroo Island General Manager, repeated his claims that because of the fires KIPT won’t have a need for the seaport, and said that the economic impact of COVID-19 emphasised this.

Yumbah Aquaculture, which claims to be the largest producer of Greenlip abalone in the world, is opposed to the construction of the seaport which would be built less than 200 metres from its Smith Bay operation.

“While KPT continues to claim Yumbah’s concerns about the evolving seaport proposal have been addressed, we know that as soon as construction begins it will be the beginning of the end of our Smith Bay business,” Mr Connell said.

“Australia is in a state-of-emergency and this was always a high-risk project. KPT’s loss of 95% of its plantations was one thing, the economic impact of COVID-19 is another. There is no case for this project.”

Shares in KIPT on the Australian Stock Exchange remained suspended from trading since the bushfires. The company is working towards ending that suspension over coming weeks.