Michelle Lensink

Environment, Resources And Development Committee Coastal Development

This speech is to indicate support for the Environment, Resources And Development Committee Coastal Development motion.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (16:40): I rise to support this motion and indicate that I found it a very interesting inquiry.

I will reiterate the terms of reference for the benefit of members; that is, the committee was to investigate and report on the impacts of coastal development in South Australia, with particular reference to eight points: adequacy of planning legislation and guidelines; visual impact; built form; environmental impact; ownership of coastal land; preservation of coastal land; infrastructure; and any other relevant matter. Clearly, they were very broad terms of reference. I do not propose to speak for very long on this matter, because the report speaks for itself, and I note that the Hon. Russell Wortley, who preceded me in this debate, has read into the record the committee summary of findings, and I think the correlation of word for word would be over 99 per cent. In summary, bearing in mind that I did come in part way through the committee's inquiry, I have noted that development and planning, as one of the issues involved, have a somewhat fractured structure in South Australia.

We did hear evidence from Michael O'Brien, who is conducting a review into development, and we hope that some outcomes from that review will improve our planning system. It is not to point the finger at anyone in particular, but environmental concerns within our development and planning process have not always been in the state's best interests. As time progresses and we understand better the importance of protecting our fragile environment, I think those issues will need to be given greater consideration. In this sense, one of the issues that was raised time and again was the role of the Coast Protection Board and the fact that it needs more teeth. It does have a role in making recommendations but, unfortunately, it can be ignored and has been ignored on many occasions.

One of the most startling parts of the evidence that I heard related to the impact of development and urbanisation on our coastline, and the degradation of our marine environment along the metropolitan coast. My understanding is that the northern reefs, which are off the coast of areas such as Port Adelaide and Semaphore, are the most highly degraded. However, as you travel further south, the reefs at Horseshoe Bay and in the area of Moana are in much better condition but are still under threat. Professor Anthony Cheshire and a number of highly qualified marine biologists provided advice about the impact of the turbidity and nutrient load of stormwater that goes out to sea. Clearly, there are opportunities for South Australia—and in a number of ways this is being driven by councils—to capture stormwater and reuse it.

Indeed, I have a bottle labelled 'recharge', which comes from the Parafield wetlands, containing water that was pumped underneath, left for 12 months and is now suitable for drinking. Also, I direct members to look at the list of recommendations which are diverse. For a number of inquiries they would be considered large; they run to 86. We thought that, if we were to do this job justice in terms of reporting, all the recommendations should be included. They relate to areas such as development assessment panels, changes to the Coast Protection Act, marine planning, the role of NRM boards, coastal zoning, built form, off-road vehicles, feral species, coastal acid sulphate soils, climate change and a number of other planning and conflict of interest issues. The report is well worth reading. I particularly congratulate Dr Sue Murray-Jones our research officer. She was able to pull this report together from the broad range of evidence we received. She brought it all together in a coherent document, which I endorse to the council.

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