Deputy Premier Vickie Chapman fronts inquiry into the rejection of a Kangaroo Island development application as Labor calls for her resignation

INQUIRY: Vickie Chapman has hit back at what she calls revolting and vicious attacks after her decision to reject a port proposal on Kangaroo Island was put under scrutiny. Photo: AAP
INQUIRY: Vickie Chapman has hit back at what she calls revolting and vicious attacks after her decision to reject a port proposal on Kangaroo Island was put under scrutiny. Photo: AAP

Planning Minister Vickie Chapman has hit back at Labor's "mudslinging exercise" amid calls from the Opposition for her to resign.

A South Australian inquiry has started examining whether the Deputy Premier had a conflict of interest or misled parliament over her decision to refuse a major development application on Kangaroo Island.

Ms Chapman rejected a proposal to build a $40-million port on the island's north coast to ship plantation timber to the mainland.

Her decision came despite her department ruling the project could go ahead after an assessment found any environmental concerns could be managed.

Ms Chapman, whose family has long owned property on the island, said at the time there was no conflict of interest in relation to her decision.

The Attorney-General told the inquiry on Wednesday she was "not aware" a forest across the road from her property had contracted KIPT to fell its logs, and also stated she did "not consider that I have any conflict of interest".

Labor leader Peter Malinauskas said Premier Steven Marshall needed to show leadership and sack Ms Chapman, if she did not resign herself.

"Clearly, after Vickie Chapman's unsatisfactory answers, she has no choice but to resign," he said.

"But if she won't do the honourable thing, then Steven Marshall needs to step up and show some leadership.

"It is time for Steven Marshall to make a statement about the standards he will accept in his government, and sack Vickie Chapman."

Ms Chapman said Labor's Select Committee was a mudslinging exercise "which has used Kangaroo Island as a political football".

"Throughout the witch-hunt I have been viciously and personally attacked, and, unfortunately given the current Labor Party members, I suspect this will continue," she said.

Ms Chapman said the committee - led by Tom Koutsantonis and Andrea Michaels - had failed to take Kangaroo Island residents into account and how the process may affect them.

She said she was "revolted" by the personal attacks.

"While the Marshall Liberal Government is committed to rebuilding the Island after the devastating bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic, the Labor Party has launched this unprecedented Kangaroo Court," Ms Chapman said.

"In a move devoid of compassion and moral compass, Ms Michaels spoke of land transfers I made to my family, implying this was related to my decision to refuse the wharf, knowing, full well, these transfers were made following the suicide of my brother, Jim, in 2017.

"I am revolted that the Labor Party would stoop to this level, dragging my family, friends and Jim's memory through the dirt."

She said she would never forget the toll this has taken on her family.

Mr Koutsantonis has also called for Ms Chapman to resign, calling her answers to the inquiry unsatisfactory.

Two key matters to be investigated in the inquiry relate to the property held by Ms Chapman and her family, and her personal relationship with Kangaroo Island Mayor and former Liberal MP Michael Pengilly, and any impact from the proposed port on his interests.

It will also look at whether Ms Chapman misled parliament in relation to some of her statements about the development and her decision, and whether she had breached the ministerial code of conduct.

If a breach was alleged, the matter must be referred back to the House of Assembly for consideration.

Responding to a tweet on Wednesday that read "Attorney General Vickie Chapman tells KI port inquiry committee she does not consider she has any conflict of interest", Mr Pengilly wrote "Because she hasn't. Absolute zilch. Complete political beat up. Waste of taxpayers money."

Mr Pengilly is scheduled to give evidence on Friday, November 5.