DOLPHIN AND BIRD SANCTUARIES

The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Leader of the Opposition) ( 14:19 :23 ): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation a question about the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary and the International Bird Sanctuary.

Leave granted.

The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY: Members will be well aware, after a commitment from the federal government for the Northern Connector recently, that construction is set to begin sometime later next year on that Northern Connector. Much of the construction goes through the salt pans and it is very adjacent to the Barker Inlet, the home of the dolphin sanctuary and the international bird sanctuary that is currently under development.

My question to the minister is: has he received any advice from DPTI, the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure or his department on the environmental impacts on either of the two sanctuaries?

The PRESIDENT: Minister.

The Hon. D.W. Ridgway: Can you answer it without reading your phone?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change) ( 14:20 :21 ): Excuse me, I will read my phone whenever I like.

An honourable member interjecting:

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: Yes, as the honourable member says, he's not the boss of me.

The Hon. D.W. Ridgway: Just answer the question.

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: He's trying, Mr President. Early last year, I announced that a re-elected Labor government would invest $1.7 million over four years to create an international bird sanctuary along the Gulf St Vincent coastline north of Adelaide. I am pleased that the first stage of the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary, to establish approximately 60 kilometres of coastal crown land between Barker Inlet and Parham into a conservation area, was a success. The 2,300 hectares of land, purchased by the government in June 2014 for $2 million, connects the Light River estuary in Parham and has high conservation value.

The northern Adelaide coast is a key part of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, with 23 of the species that visit subject to Australia's bilateral migratory bird agreements with China, Japan and the Republic of Korea. At the peak of the summer migration season, more than 25,000 birds, I am advised, gathered at the site, with many species arriving from as far away as Alaska and northern Asia. More than 200 species of birds have been recorded at the Dry Creek salt field, including around 50 resident and migratory shorebirds. Bird enthusiasts have the chance to see birds such as the sharp-tailed sandpiper, the bar-tailed godwit and the red-necked stint around the area.

Not only will the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary help to safeguard the future of migratory shorebirds that visit the area but it will hopefully also be a drawcard for visitors to South Australia. The sanctuary is an exciting opportunity to deliver environmental and economic outcomes for our state. We want the community to have input into the design of the bird sanctuary, and we have started that conversation.

On 5 December last year, it was my pleasure to open the first forum to formally launch the government's engagement with the community in the establishment of the bird sanctuary. Over 60 people, from a diverse range of backgrounds with varied connections to the area, attended the forum. It was a day to share thoughts, concerns and ideas about the possible future of the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary and how we can take it into the future.

We are committed to the collaborative development of this sanctuary with the local communities. The Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary will ensure the protection of critical habitat for shorebirds and create opportunities for people to enjoy nature. We are connecting through social media, the internet and face-to-face engagement, with people passionate about their landscape.

On 13 and 14 August 2015, a bird sanctuary ecology summit was held at the St Kilda foreshore. This summit was aimed at understanding the ecology of the bird sanctuary through two streams: the use of storytelling to evaluate changes in ecology and local community sentiment and gathering and exploring up-to-date data to understand how we can best protect shorebirds and other important environmental components throughout the years.

Qualitative data is being collected for the bird sanctuary using the Most Significant Change technique. The Most Significant Change technique, I am advised, is used to collect stories from across the various bird sanctuary communities and then evaluate their significance in changes across ecology, community and economy. The gathered information will be used in the first year to create a baseline dataset that will enable us to better understand community sentiment, and then in future years the data will be used to track project impact and success.

The inaugural Adelaide Flyway Festival will be held on Saturday 17 October 2015 at the St Kilda foreshore. The festival will coincide with the start of National Bird Week. The festival will also coincide with the return of migratory birds to the bird sanctuary shores, which will have travelled along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway to feed and rest over the summer months. The festival has been named after this significant event.

The festival will introduce the bird sanctuary to the community and encourage people to visit, appreciate and promote the sanctuary as a great place to visit. As the bird sanctuary is located at the heart of one of South Australia's food bowls, the festival celebrates the area's significance as a key source of food for Adelaide and beyond, as well as raising awareness of the conservation significance and tourism potential.

A leadership group, the Collective, has been recently formed to provide advice and support in shaping the future of the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary. The group is comprised of approximately 30 people from a diverse range of stakeholders, which include Kaurna heritage, Largs Bay School, local council groups, the Vietnamese Farmers Association, Regional Development Australia (Barossa section), the South Australian Tourism Commission and the Nature Conservancy.

The Collective was launched on 31 July 2015 at the Adelaide Zoo where they were able to meet over 180 community members in a speed networking style of event. The Collective will have its first meeting in a series of bimonthly meetings this month and will be chaired by an expert in co-design and collective impact. The first meeting will mark the start of using a collective impact approach for the bird sanctuary leadership.

The proposed Northern Connector does not split the bird sanctuary, I am advised. In fact, almost all of the planned Northern Connector alignment is to the east of the proposed sanctuary boundary. The proposed southern interchange at the intersection of South Road and the Port River Expressway crosses the southernmost extent of the area being considered for inclusion in the sanctuary. This is only one kilometre of the 15-kilometre road alignment and it lies adjacent to the commercial and industrial suburbs of Wingfield and Dry Creek.

The Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources and the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure will continue to work collaboratively together to ensure that both important projects can be delivered and that the outcomes for each initiative can be sustainably achieved.

 

news questions