Kangaroo Island Council requests immediate restriction of non-essential travel to reduce COVID-19 coronavirus risk

The travel restriction motions displayed on the Zoom platform during the Kangaroo Island Council's meeting on Thursday.
The travel restriction motions displayed on the Zoom platform during the Kangaroo Island Council's meeting on Thursday.

The Kangaroo Island Council today moved to urgently request State Government emergency officials put in greater controls over non-essential travel to Kangaroo Island.

The council hopes to slow the spread of coronavirus onto the Island particularly in the lead up to the Easter holiday period.

The council on Thursday afternoon, April 2 met electronically via the Zoom platform to comply with coronavirus distancing requirements.

The main motion passed was that the council requests the State Coordinator to close KI immediately to all non-essential travel until the end of May 2020, except for residents and ratepayers travelling between the mainland and the Island for medical, compassionate and emergency grounds.

All activities associated with the bushfire recovery would be deemed as essential, along with medical and mental services.

Residents and ratepayers would have to show their drivers' licences, and upon returning would have to self quarantine for 14 days.

Any arrangements would be reviewed in mid May or earlier.

Mayor Michael Pengilly started the meeting by noting that it was the State Emergency coordinator, the SA Police commissioner, who had the authority to enact any restrictions.

Deputy mayor Bob Teasdale authored the motions and said he built into the recommendations contingencies to protect bushfire recovery and that any restrictions would be reviewed after six weeks.

He said everyone he spoke to, and he received many, many emails and calls, except one wanted greater restrictions to lower the risk of coronavirus on Kangaroo Island.

"This is very much a response to widespread community and meeting the wishes of the community, everyone we speak to wants the border closed," clr Teasdale said.

The main motion to make the request to the State Government was passed seven to one with the only dissenter being clr Peter Denholm.

Clr Denholm said the council should not get involved in matters out of its control.

"We are all South Australians and we are part of SA and we've got to trust our State officials and the established protocols," he said.

Regarding the self quarantine measure for returning residents, clrs Peter Denholm and Rosalie Chirgwin voted against it.

Clr Graham Walkom spoke passionately for all the motions and making the recommendation to the State Government.

He referenced the comment by the Deputy Premier Vickie Chapman that the Island needed to unite to make a request for further action.

He said the Island was truly united and it was not time for politics.

He went further and said there was support from State Member Leon Bignell and former mayor Peter Clements to temperature screen essential visitors and returning Islanders.

He also pointed to Mr Clement's online petition signed by more than 3000 people, with half or more being locals.

Clr Sam Mumford said everyone he had spoken to wanted the Island closed off and he supported the measures, even though he himself would have to self quarantine himself after taking cattle to the mainland every two weeks.

"This is the worse time for this to happen but I am willing to self quarantine," he said.

Mr Pengilly said the request would be passed onto the State Emergency Controller, the SA Police commissioner, and he would make the decision.

Clr Teasdale thanked all the staff for their efforts.

Earlier in the day, the council voted to authorise electronic meetings but any live streaming would only happen if all councillors agreed to it before each meeting.

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