Public Parks NOT Private Playgrounds – Get back on the track!

Members of the three Friends of Parks groups on Kangaroo Island have gone on strike in protest over the decision to build two luxury private accommodation villages on prominent fragile coastal sites in wild and unspoilt parts of Flinders Chase National Park. The sites are outside the development zones listed in the Park Management Plan (Amendment 2017). There was no community consultation.

Eco Action Kangaroo Island has engaged a lawyer and a QC to fight the overall approval in the SA Supreme Court. The case will be heard by the Full Bench in the first week of February 2020.

The Problem

Flinders Chase National Park on Kangaroo Island has been protected for 100 years. Yes it’s the park’s centenary year this year, not, you would think, the time to wreck the joint. Along its almost 100 km of coast are only two human-built structures: Cape Borda and Cape du Couedic lighthouses.

The five-day Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail opened in 2016 with community consultation and agreement. The trail has four campsites and the original idea was that harder eco-friendly structures would be constructed nearby for softer walkers.

The four campsites are close to existing roads and discreetly located in secluded sites away from sensitive coastal habitats. However, the Department of Environment and Water has endorsed a proposal by the Australian Walking Company to develop two private luxury accommodation villages away from the trail:

  • each has 10 substantial buildings, water tanks, lookouts and connecting paths
  • they are located up to 2.5 km from the Wilderness Trail
  • they are conspicuously placed on pristine coastal sites overlooking wild and remote beaches
  • additional roads and walking tracks will be cleared through native vegetation
  • they directly impact a number of nationally threatened species. 

That’s impact at those fragile sites, impact in the extra trail length and impact from the service roads. And Sandy Creek hikers will arrive at their remote coastal destination to be overlooked by buildings on the headland.

‘The idea doesn’t stack up. It’s like saying the MCG needs a corporate box in the centre square to give well-heeled patrons a better view of the game.’

We do not oppose small-scale eco-sensitive accommodation located along the trail, close to existing roads, as allowed for in the Management Plan. We oppose:

  • the location and scale of the proposed development, and
  • that it blatantly disregards the binding Flinders Chase National Park Management Plan.

What do we want? The Environment Minister and his Department to listen to the community and return this development to the one specified in the Management Plan: i.e. small scale eco-accommodation along the trail, close to existing road access and away from the sensitive coastal zone.

Sandy Beach headland, Flinders Chase National Park

What we’re doing about it

The island community is campaigning to bring this development back to the original concept with support from many organisations such as the Royal Society of SA, Conservation SA, the Wilderness Society SA, the National Trust SA, Field Naturalists Society of SA, KI Natural Resources Management Board, and Friends of Parks groups across South Australia.

We’ve made our message clear to the developers and the department but we need them to act and change their plans. We are establishing a case for the development to be challenged in the Supreme Court for:

  • not being legal under the SA National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972
  • not according with the “Flinders Chase National Park, Kelly Hill Conservation Park, Ravine des Casoars Wilderness Protection Area and Cape Bouguer Wilderness Protection Area Management Plans” (adopted in 2000 with amendment in 2017)
  • proceeding without appropriate community consultation
  • proceeding without a legitimate environmental assessment of the potential impacts on nationally threatened species and referral under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Our case will be heard by the Full Bench of the SA Supreme Court on the 10th, 11th and 12th of June 2020 (deferred from February due to the catastrophic wildfires).

Many wild places are in the sights of developers. They could be coming to a park near you soon. Our case could set a precedent for other communities fighting similar development proposals in their neighbourhood.

Approaching Sanderson Bay, Flinders Chase National Park

How you can help

Join us in fighting against cuts to our parks and reserves:

Write to Minister Speirs, Premier Marshall and your local MP

Write letters to media outlets (newspapers, radio, TV)

Donate to the campaign via EFT to:
Kangaroo Island Eco-Action
BSB 105-094, Account no. 035312540
Please confirm any donations by email to:

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Click here to become a supporter so we can keep you up-to-date with the campaign.

Sandy Beach, Flinders Chase National Park


Approaching Sanderson Bay, Flinders Chase National Park

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