Rebekha asks Minister to review 'glamping' plan for KI park

Rebekha asks Minister to review 'glamping' plan for KI park

Mayo MP Rebekha Sharkie has asked the Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley to step in and review a controversial plan to build accommodation and roads in sensitive areas of the Flinders Chase National Park on Kangaroo Island.

“The Minister has the authority under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 to investigate certain developments where there is a strong argument the impact could be a matter of national environmental significance,” Rebekha said.

“In the case of the Australian Walking Company (AWC) application, there is a body of evidence that shows this development will remove remnant native vegetation that is the habitat of a number of nationally endangered species including Kangaroo Island Dunnart, the Kangaroo Island Echidna and the Southern Brown Bandicoot, as well the nationally vulnerable Bassian Thrush and the Hooded Plover.

“Only recently Australia made global headlines as having one of the worst extinction rates on the planet so we really need to be vigilant when it comes to removing what little remnant vegetation we have left.

“Asking the Minister to refer the AWC application to her Department so another independent set of expert eyes can assess the impact is a sensible safeguard.”

A formal letter from Rebekha to Minister Ley was sent this week.

A similar development to AWC’s proposal, involving infrastructure and accommodation along the Three Capes Track in Tasmania, was referred under the Act back in 2011.

The Environment Department reviewed the project and found it did not require Federal approval, provided the development was undertaken according to set criteria.

Kangaroo Island Eco-Action, the main incorporated environmental non-government organisation on KI, supports the move for extra Federal oversight.

According to the group, there are a number of omissions in the AWC’s fauna survey that downplay the importance of the remnant vegetation.

In one instance, members expressed concern that the survey found no evidence of the Hooded Plover.

“Hooded Plover eggs on Sandy Beach are a common sight,” said Eco-Action’s public officer, Bob Huxtable.

“We argue that the AWC development will lead to a significant increase in the disturbance of the Hooded Plover, especially at Sandy Beach where currently the visitation levels are relatively low.

“This nationally vulnerable bird nests on the beach between September and April and lays eggs in shallow scrapes in the sand so the chance of accidental crushing of eggs and chicks will also increase.”

Caption: Below is a scanned copy of the letter sent to Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley.