Letters to The Islander – Jan. 10

FIRST SHIP: The Holland America Line ship Noordam anchored just off the Penneshaw wharf at Kangaroo Island.
FIRST SHIP: The Holland America Line ship Noordam anchored just off the Penneshaw wharf at Kangaroo Island.

Cruise questions

I am writing to our community through The Islander to draw attention to some important questions that have not been asked regarding the perceived benefits of cruise ship visits. There has never been an examination of the assumed benefits.  The assumption is being made that cruise ships are a good thing, particularly economically, in the promotion of our island and it's attractions.

There are positives; SeaLink and its employees driving the large tour buses; small tour operators and hire car providers; island residents who attend Penneshaw Oval activities, and a range of local businesses particularly if buses visit Kingscote.  

Cruise ship visits happen at peak season when most pressure is on businesses, employees and services.   This seems odd as the current campaign is for KI to be “Open All Year”.

Main tourist sites suffer under the unprecedented number of people bused in at any one time.  This disadvantages different types of customers; the visitors travelling on holiday and small tourism operators, as well as those on the cruise ship stopover. For example, Seal Bay facilities were not created for fast-through crowds; long frustrating delays while waiting for access to the beach is not a good visitor experience. Certainly this is not consistent with our reputation for providing wonderful wildlife and landscape experiences  Are we risking our reputation?

How are our volunteer-based services coping?  The cruise ship demographic means older customers and this means the likelihood of increased demand on health services.  With the growing number of cruise ship visits, are our health services able to continue to respond to this demand?  Has there been increased pressure on our volunteer ambulance officers? Cruise ship doctors attend on board customers reportedly at a hefty fee so do cruise ship visitors seek medical support on-Island? 

What are the other impacts of ship visits?  Waste removal is a cost  borne by ratepayers.  Is the demand for servicing essential facilities increasing?  How much do passengers on domestic cruise ships actually spend when they 'have already paid for their trip'?

Cruise ships do not pay any 'docking' or visitation fee to the KI Council. Residents thus do not receive any direct benefit. Is this true?

I am only asking questions and happy if after examination the response is the many businesses are doing well, employing others; that Parks are handling the sudden influxes, that facilities are adequate, that resources and expectations meet the needs of visitors, cruise ship customers and residents.  I just don't think these questions have been asked.  I don't need to be convinced either way I just need the assumptions examined by people in power so the best choices can be made for the future of our Island.

Sara Hourez, Wisanger

New land release?

On Sunday, December 23, we experienced about the lowest tide of the year at 0.13m at 12.02pm. I'm thought a photo of the spit that was shot from Bay of Shoals Winery could be kept on file and used for April Fools. 

You could talk about a new land release for sale! I have also noticed the greenery out there has become more pronounced in the last  year or so.

Peter Murch, Kingscote

Divestiture powers

Divestiture powers may not seem like an exciting topic, but they are critically important for consumer welfare.

Divestiture powers allow the Federal Government to break up monopolies and oligopolies that abuse their market power to extract unconscionable profits from consumers. 

More competition creates a more level playing field which brings down prices. It is good for Australian consumers, and good for our small businesses who also buy their supplies from big business.

This is why I believe that bringing divestiture powers to Australia is so important. Governments in the United States and United Kingdom have divestiture powers, as do many European countries. And yet Australia does not.

My former colleague Nick Xenophon was an absolute champion for divestiture powers, and they were always part of his and my vision for the future Australia. I was so proud to see the Government finally adopt our vision in Australian energy markets. This is the ‘big stick’ of last resort you may have heard the Government talk about! However, it shouldn’t be just the energy markets,  The Government should have the power and option to use ‘the stick’ in all markets dominated by only a few private companies.

Rebekha Sharkie, Federal Member

Funding for intersection

Last month’s Federal Budget update has confirmed the Australian Government’s $145,000 commitment to improve the North Coast Road and Emu Bay Road intersection on Kangaroo Island.

Improving Kangaroo Island’s road network is essential to maximising the island’s economic return from tourism and agriculture, and improving road safety.

This guarantee will give the Kangaroo Island community certainty the project will go ahead. Kangaroo Island is a unique region and community with enormous potential for sustainable growth in tourism, and we must always be working to improve its road network for both visitors and residents.

Funding for the intersection was being delivered as part of the Liberal Government’s record investment in land transport infrastructure. Record investment was creating thousands of jobs, driving increased productivity, supporting a growing population, and further strengthening the national economy.

Georgina Downer, Federal Liberal candidate