Letters to The Islander | Dec. 5, 2019

Deputy Premier Vickie Chapman enjoyed the Parndana Show last month.
Deputy Premier Vickie Chapman enjoyed the Parndana Show last month.

Road funding

I'm a born and bred Islander. I come home as much as I can, and enjoyed the Parndana Show last month. Given my role as Deputy Premier, I thought it was important for me to set the record straight regarding vehicle registration on the Island.

The Outer Area Motor vehicle registration fee concessions were introduced some 30 years ago to compensate for a lower standard of road infrastructure in certain regional areas. While I understand some members of the community have concerns regarding the Outer Areas Concession being changed, we must remember that this scheme began its life to compensate for the below standard state of the Island's roads specifically. These infrastructure issues remain a challenge, but I am proud to be part of a Government that is prepared to act.

KI is now seeing greater funding than other parts of regional South Australia, because we know the difficulties of building and maintaining infrastructure on the Island. There is a continuing $2 million contribution per annum that the State Government makes towards local government roads. This recognises that the KI Council has a lot of local roads that it has to maintain. On top of this we have committed an extra $1 million for Island infrastructure.

Myself, the Premier and the Minister for Transport are committed to KI. We are committed to seeing it grow and prosper. This is why we have opened the ferry service out to tender for a more competitive pricing structure, and we will soon see the duplication of Victor Harbor Road down to McLaren Vale. I condemn the fear-mongering around what is actually increased money for road infrastructure. As Islanders, we experienced 16 years of a Government who would not spend any money fixing their roads, and we were sick of it.

Vickie Chapman, Deputy Premier

Very disappointing

How disappointing to perceive a culture of this council to dismiss opposing points of view on the grounds of being "based on emotion, not scientific fact" and to not appear to represent all points of view in the position it takes re the future of Kangaroo Island and it's constituents. It is a scientific fact that an oil spill from drilling will have a catastrophic effect on the local economy and wildlife.

The event would be highly emotive for those whose business and livelihood is destroyed but the consequences would be evidenced in hard cold facts. What is the council gaining from agreeing with Equinor drilling in the Bight? I would be interested in the council factually elaborating the advantages for the KI community of taking this position.

Sally Owen, Penneshaw

Members needed

The KI Hospital Auxiliary is looking for new members. We have just had our AGM and all positions have been filled, so as a new member you will only be asked to assist in raising money for our local health facilities. A truly worthwhile cause that benefits all Islanders and helps to provide those items that the Government just doesn't seem to cover.

In the past few years we have assisted (often in conjunction with the Lions Club) in funding the new Heli port, in providing new floor coverings for "Anchusa", a telemetry machine to monitor multiple patients, privacy screens for the ambulance access, increasing the capacity of the morgue, two new emergency room beds, two new observation machines and a day surgery/recovery chair - well over a $100,000 and it makes a difference.

Our fund-raising efforts are concentrated on catering at the race days, the Kingscote Show and the annual Fete. We raise around $30,000 a year, which is spent ticking off items on the Health Care facilities wish list. The list is not getting any shorter!

So, if you would like to be involved in helping the local community, we would really encourage you to volunteer - we need new ideas, a different way of doing. Our next meeting will be 7pm on Tuesday, Dec. 17 at the Cook Centre. Contact Leonie Florance on 0427 713 388 for more information. Your involvement will be warmly welcomed.

Leonie Florance, Auxiliary president

Fire development

The recent total destruction by fire of heritage Binna Burra Lodges in Queensland, should be a warning to future tourist developments in National Parks. The main access road into the resort was cut off to emergency crews by fire and fallen trees.

Future approval for any development public or private, needs to factor in the higher risk of bushfires due to the impact of climate shift with changing patterns of rainfalls and dryness, and adequate access routes for first responders to emergencies.

The approval by state government of 'off-the-track' development of accommodation pods by Australian Walking Company (AWC) in a remote area of Flinders Chase National Park only accessed by bush tracks, may not have fully taken into account the high risk of future bush fires and emergency response.

Rhonda Avard, Gilberton