Parliament protest, Rocks performance, court update

In the month that Flinders Chase National Park celebrates its 100 years, the community opposition against proposed accommodation lodges is taking many forms.

Kangaroo Island locals and about 600 other opponents of the Australian Walking Company's proposal rallied at the steps of SA's Parliament House on Thursday, October 10.

This was the second protest after an earlier rally at Parliament in February.

Well-known conservationist Bob Brown led the rally and the protest received widespread media coverage.

The Eco-Action legal case supported by Public Parks not Private Playgrounds group is moving ahead, with two directions hearings in the Supreme Court setting a hearing date for early February.

Spokesperson Fraser Vickery said the matter would be heard before the full bench, with the Supreme Court allowing three days for the case against the legitimacy of the approvals to be heard.

The latest round of crowd funding initiated by the groups to fund the legal battle meanwhile closed on Wednesday, October 16, with the target exceeded and more than $56,000 raised.

This Wednesday will see renowned classical musicians Anthony Albrecht on cello and Simone Slattery on violin performing a 100-year commemoration concert at Remarkable Rocks in Flinders Chase National Park.

The event has been organised by Kangaroo Island's three Friends of Parks groups and the concert is at 12noon tomorrow, Wednesday October 16.

The musicians are also performing at the Kingscote Town Hall this evening, Tuesday, October 15 with tickets still available.

Parliament protest

Friends of Parks spokesperson Bev Maxwell said supporters of the Public Parks not Private Playgrounds' campaign rallied on the steps of Parliament House on Thursday, October 10 protesting against the proposed private accommodation villages.

"The date and location of the rally were significant as almost 100 years ago, after 27 years of struggle by members of the Royal Society of South Australia, the South Australian Parliament assented to an Act 'to Establish a Reserve on Kangaroo Island'. It was a long fight to overcome apathy and opposition to create a reserve to protect the wild landscape of western Kangaroo Island and its plants and animals," she said.

"The recent threat to Flinders Chase National Park as a place for conservation and protection of its native animals and plants was the impetus last week for an estimated 600 people across the political and social spectrum to attend the rally and enthusiastically applaud the well-informed and passionate speakers.

"Leading the speakers at Thursday's rally was well-known conservationist Bob Brown who described similar developments proposed for parks across Australia. 'It's a battle for the heart and soul of National Parks,' he said.

"Caroline Paterson, previous ranger in charge of Kangaroo Island parks then spoke about the alternative less damaging accommodation sites that the Australian Walking Company had been offered.

"Chris Grant, National Trust's Natural Heritage Manager highlighted the biological and social value of National Parks and reserves and the vision of the people who established Flinders Chase.

"Final speaker was Mark Parnell MLC, whose legislation to ensure community input into future developments planned in National Parks will be tabled in the South Australian Parliament on Wednesday, October 16, - 100 years to the day that Flinders Chase was established as a flora and fauna reserve.

"MC for the rally was Craig Wilkins Chief Executive of Conservation SA who listed the number of different groups and organisations present at the rally.

"Inspired by the speakers and motivated by their concern for the value of the public park estate, supporters took action - buying raffle tickets and t-shirts, signing petitions and donating money for the legal case that Eco-Action on behalf of Public Parks not Private Playgrounds is pursuing in the Supreme Court.

"The rally was covered by ABC and Channel 9 news, The Advertiser, Radio Adelaide and was a main feature of Channel 7 'Today Tonight' current affairs program.

"Footage of the rally and more detail of the campaign can be seen on the Public Parks not Private Playgrounds website"


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