Government Declares War on SA Environment

Three environmental decisions this week show that the State Government has declared war on the South Australian environment, according to Greens SA Parliamentary Leader, Mark Parnell MLC.

This week, the Government:

  1. Closed consultation on plans to sell public waterfront land on Kangaroo Island to a private golf course developer, declaring that the prime natural habitat was “surplus to requirements”;
  2. Refused to release the EPA’s submission on plans to dredge and dump 1.55 million cubic metres of dredge spoil from Outer Harbour into the middle of Gulf St Vincent, risking massive environmental harm.  The secret EPA report won’t be available to fishing and conservation groups appearing at the planning hearing on Thursday (tomorrow); and
  3. Released plans for Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) at Leigh Creek – a process that is so dirty and dangerous that it has been banned in Queensland and many overseas countries.

“The most recent decision to proceed with assessment of the Leigh Creek Energy UCG project shows that the Government’s love affair with gas has blinded them to the enormous risk this dangerous process poses for South Australia.  A quick phone call to Queensland would have set them right.  UCG trials in that State resulted in harmful gas emissions that contaminated hundreds of square kilometres of the Darling Downs.  Former Queensland Environment Minister, Steven Miles, described it as "the biggest pollution event probably in Queensland's history."

“Last year, both Liberal and Labor voted against a Greens’ Bill to ban UCG, despite clear scientific evidence that it was not worth the risk.

“In contrast to the Government’s abandonment of the natural environment, the Greens have pledged to block the sale of coastal crown land, fully disclose all environmental information about dredging in the marine environment and permanently ban underground coal gasification”, concluded Mark Parnell.