The Hon Steven Marshall MP
GPO Box 2343
Adelaide SA, 5001
RE: Conservation of the Aldinga Washpool site
I write to you as a former senior adviser to Ms Rebekha Sharkie, the Member for Mayo, with a keen interest in environmental conservation. It was during this time that I became familiar with the current situation regarding the Aldinga Washpool site.
The Aldinga Washpool is one of the last remaining coastal freshwater and estuarine lagoon systems along the Adelaide metropolitan coast and includes a threatened temperate coastal saltmarsh, which is nationally listed as a vulnerable, threatened ecological community under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth).
With even limited investment in environmental restoration, the Washpool can also provide considerable social benefits and economic (environmental tourism, especially birdwatching) opportunities to the local community and its visitors. Currently, ownership of the Washpool site is fractured amongst several Government stakeholders, including SA Water, the City of Onkaparinga, the Coastal Protection Board, and State Government Departments. There have been local community concerns that parcels of Washpool land may be sold for development.
A coalition of environmental, community and local business groups has been forming to pursue a State Government commitment to conservation of the Washpool site. A commitment to permanent conservation of the Aldinga Washpool site is an opportunity for the State Government to cement their local social, economic and environmental credentials with the Aldinga and surrounding communities within the Mawson electorate.
You would no doubt be aware that Mawson was the most marginal electorate in last the South Australian election and remains a highly marginal seat in the forthcoming 2022 State election. Labor has made a public commitment to conserve the Aldinga Washpool in its entirety, although their statements have omitted any detail on the how, when, or vision for the site.
As I understand it, your Government has been considering the conservation proposition for the Washpool for some time.
Now is the time to match – and surpass – Labor’s commitment.
A clear public commitment to a durable conservation solution for the Washpool site – for example, its annexation to the adjacent Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park – including a clear timeframe for delivery and modest investment in improving the site’s general environmental amenity, would be of great benefit to the local community and all South Australians, would outperform Labor’s commitment, and would certainly delight the gathering strength of the local coalition of environmental, community and business groups pursuing the Washpool’s conservation.
I strongly encourage the State Government to act decisively on this opportunity.
Thank you again for your time and consideration of my letter.
All the best,
Mr Michael Cornish
10 / 3 / 21
Cc Minister for the Environment, the Hon David Speirs MP
Cc Ms Sascha Meldrum, State Director, Liberal Party SA
Cc Cr Simon McMahon, South Coast Ward, City of Onkaparinga