Michelle Lensink

Tunkalilla Beach

I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking a question of the Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation about Tunkalilla Beach.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: In December 2013 it was reported that the Department for Environment, Water and Natural Resources was engaged in secret negotiations with Mr Kerry Stokes over the sale of property at Tunkalilla Beach on the Fleurieu Peninsula, which was also not subject to a public tender. The minister stated that DEWNR were pursuing the 'private sale of land in order to significantly enhance the Heysen Trail' for walkers to access coastal views.

The surrounding landowners at the time indicated concerns with the sale which would prevent coastal access and potentially cause significant environmental damage. In estimates last year the minister stated that there had been a 'delay in the sale of land at Tunkalilla Beach and will be carried over into 2014-15'. Can the minister provide an update on the sale of this property and an explanation as to the delay?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change) ( 14:24 :14 ): I thank the honourable member for her most important question. As we mostly understand, the Heysen Trail is one of our great state icons. It extends from the Fleurieu Peninsula to the Flinders Ranges and passes through some of the state's most scenic landscapes, and I expect that almost all members in here have probably walked on at least part of the Heysen Trail in their careers, if not all of it. I do not know that I can claim that I have hiked all of it, but I would like to hear from honourable members who have done and—

The Hon. J.M.A. Lensink: I'd like to see that, minister.

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: Perhaps we can go together, Hon. Ms Lensink, traipsing off into the Heysen Trail, into the Never Never. One of the most spectacular parts of the Fleurieu is within a large coastal property called Balquhidder Station, and an agreement to develop a route for the Heysen Trail through this property has not yet been finalised. The Heysen Trail therefore goes around this property and moves inland away from the coast. The ideal outcome would be to have the Heysen Trail continue along the spectacular clifftop landscapes down that part of the Fleurieu.

An amount of $1.1 million has been allocated in the 2014-15 budget to improve the Heysen Trail on the Fleurieu Peninsula, putting in some more infrastructure, for example, but to enable public access through the Balquhidder Station we will need to manage a realignment of the Heysen Trail, and that is what we are investigating with the private landowners. Discussions are underway between the department and the owners of Balquhidder Station, and they are continuing. Public access, I am advised, to nearby Tunkalilla Beach will be maintained, and that is an important aspect of negotiations as well. When I have a further update I will have great joy and delight in bringing it to the house.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK ( 14:26 :00 ): Does the minister have an approximate time frame when this might be finalised?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change) ( 14:26 :00 ): My major concern is to get a good outcome for the state and for South Australian walkers, so rather than rush it and try to get an outcome as soon as possible, I want to maximise the return for the state and our citizens. I will continue those negotiations through the department to get the ideal outcome that people who enjoy the Heysen Trail will be hoping for.

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