A proposal for a new port has been turned down due to environmental and local business concerns. 

The new port, to be located in Kangaroo island, was proposed by Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers – with plans to build a timber and woodchip export facility at Smith Bay, which is around 120km southwest of Adelaide.

It was estimated that the facility would export up to about 730,000 tonnes per year of timber products on panamax and handysize vessels. 

Up to 20 handymax vessels would have used the port in the first four years or so, thereafter, it was envisaged that up to ten panamax vessels would call at the port.

The port would have consisted of:

  • An open fully-piled jetty up to 650m long
  • A link span bridge connected to a floating pontoon and tug mooring facilities
  • Restraining structures (piled steel)
  • Mooring dolphins

There would likely have been 10 to 20 ship movements a year, leading to ships berthed at the wharf for about 30 to 75 days a year. 

Vickie Chapman, South Australia’s Planning and Local Government Minister, turned down the application on the basis of the potential long-term and irreversible impacts on the environment, local business and character of Kangaroo Island.

“This was a difficult decision and one I have not made lightly,” Ms Chapman said.

“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.

“Key factors included the impact on surrounding businesses, the marine environment, as well as biosecurity risks to neighbouring tourism and aquaculture businesses.

“There were also concerns with the impacts on the road network and how increased truck numbers on the Island would affect the character of the popular tourist destination and home for many.”

The facility was also designed to accommodate third party usage, such as the export of agricultural commodities and the import of farm machinery.

The proposal attracted a lot of interest – there were about 1,400 submissions to the planning authorities.

“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,” Ms Chapman said. 

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