FOI 161204 - Document 1
Director 'Cuttlefish Country'
Danmations Pty Ltd
1/157 Franklin St
Adelaide SA 5000
Spencer Gulf Port Link/Transport - water/Stoney Point, Eyre Peninsula,
SA/SA/Port Bonython iron ore bulk comodities export facility on Eyre Pennisula,
Summary of Response
My grave concern is that the proposed choice of location for the Spencer Gulf Port Link at Port
Bonython is fundamentally flawed. It is described by engineers of the APWP (Alternative Ports
Working Party) as sub-optimal, and a pot-hole port. It offers highly constrained access to deep
water, akin to a cul-de-sac in the ocean, and this increases the probability of shipping accidents, and
raises the possibility of future dredging to expand the shipping channel should the APWP's
warnings prove prophetic.
Reasons for rejecting the proposed port's location are also supported by local concerns that the
amenity of the Lowly Peninsula will be degraded, and access to the popular 'Fenceline' dive site at
Stoney Point, used by scientists and tourists from around the world who study and observe the
annual Giant Australian Cuttlefish breeding season, will become restricted or defunct.
The community of Whyalla have experienced this before with the initial development of the Santos
Gas Fractionation plant, which claimed additional 'safety buffer zones' after the development's
approval, displacing shackies, and fencing off Weeroona Bay from public access. Once bitten, twice
The Stoney Point site also receives annual visits from EPBC listed species, Southern Right and
Humpback Whales, some of whom travel with calves and linger at Black Point, long enough for
locals to capture photos and video of them [links below]. Cetaceans, including the bottle-nosed
dolphins who frequent Point Lowly, are vulnerable to submarine noise pollution and jetty
construction will disrupt their behaviour if not cause them injury. While not a listed species, the
Giant Australian Cuttlefish is the true icon of the project site, and the proposed jetty is to be built
right over the top of the area where the animals currently gather at their greatest density
While the proponent makes a pledge to not construct the jetty during cuttlefish season, adverse
impacts on the scientific study of these animals and the growing ecotourism interest in the Lowly
Peninsula are to be expected.
For many years, a group of experienced engineers from Whyalla have been promoting an
alternative port site at Mullarquana, to the south of Whyalla. This is a genuine alternative, affording
better access to deep water, great distance from the cuttlefish breeding grounds and visiting whales,
and comparable access to rail and road infrastructure.
It is our belief that this referral application should be rejected under the auspices of insufficient
detail, inconsistencies within the application, and a lack of exploration and disclosure of genuine
Specific Points of Concern
Alternatives to proposed action
The suggestion that there are no alternatives to the proposed action is unreasonable. For years the
APWP, Alternative Ports Working Party have lobbied for an alternative site south of Whyalla, at
Mullaquarna to be considered. The process of rezoning land for this purpose is currently being
considered by the Whyalla City Council. The proponent also admits that previously, alternative sites
had been considered [2.3] but offers no further detail. In brief, the APWP's rationale for
recommending their alternative site is based on improved safety and efficiency when navigating
cape-sized vessels to and from port, (ie. better access to deep water) suitable distance from the
Giant Australian Cuttlefish breeding grounds, no disturbance of amenity and ecotourism values of
the Lowly Peninsula and comparable distance to existing worker accommodation, rail and road
The existence of this port is only validated by the demands of iron ore miners seeking export
pathways, none of whom are listed on this application. I believe it would be appropriate for
potential port users to be listed in this application and associated matters to be discussed. For
example, transportation matters such as determining if the rail cars delivering the ore are to be open,
covered or sealed in relation to possible spillage and areas of impact. The possibility that some port
customers may wish to road freight their ore, as per Lucky Bay and Port Spencer exports, and this
possibility has not been discussed.
Description of proposed action
Intentions to export 'in excess of 50 million tonnes per annum' are mentioned. This figure is
inadequate, as it does not give a clear indication of the potential maximum expected volume of
shipping traffic to and from the completed facility, as it does not specify an upper estimate.
Increased shipping frequency increases the frequency of risk of accident, as well as opportunities
for the introduction of invasive species in ballast water and on vessel hulls, as well as increasing
turbidity in the water from propeller churn due to the lack of bottom-clearance and highly
constrained nature of the available 'deep water'.
The railway facility description also fails to mention if the rail-cars carrying the ore will be open,
covered or sealed as they travel between the existing line and the ore unloading facility. Should
customers wish to road freight ore to the facility, this matter would also need addressing.
Alternative locations, time frames, activities that form part of the referred action
It would be reasonable for the applicant to disclose the locations of the 'Two locations south of
Whyalla with deep water... initially suggested for investigation' and the grounds by which they were
ruled out as viable alternatives. I argue that the transportation of ore to the facility must be
considered as part of the referred action, as the port serves no purpose without it. The possible
expansion to the additional land mentioned for 'future growth' should also be described as part of
the referred action, unless it is deemed part of a staged development.
Coastal Conservation Zone Objective & Response #3
Development that contributes to the desired character of the zone. This development makes a
mockery of the location's existing reputation as a world class dive site, marked on Google Earth
and widely in dive literature with an entry-point at the Santos fenceline
. The development is also
proposed to be located adjacent to existing shacks on Cuttlefish Drive. Whilst it may be consistent
with the Santos Gas Fractionation plant, it is not consistent with the coastal cells' appeal as tourist
attractions for their natural amenity. It will also adversely affect the property values of residents
living on the peninsula as these values are degraded.
2.4 Special Industry, Rural (Industry Buffer) Zones & Responses
As rail car closure (open, covered, sealed) is not mentioned in the referral application, impact to
vegetation and amenity in Special Industry Hydrocarbons zones and Rural (Industry buffer) zones
cannot possibly 'eliminate any impacts upon the environmental conditions within the zone' as
Special Industry Hydrocarbons
The proposed Port Bonython facility is not a 'chemical industry requiring hydrocarbon feedstock' as
the applicant admits, and is thereby not a suitable match for existing zoning. It also suffers from
highly constrained access to deep water, as evidenced by the APWP's application and depth charts
of the region's waters.
Coastal Waters Development PlanObjective 4 'the safe and efficient movement of goods'
The limited access to deep water at the cited location, and desire to dock two vessels there
simultaneously will lead to risky shipping pilotage. The Port Bonython oil spill of 1992, during
which 300 tonnes of bunker fuel oil was spilled from a ruptured hull into the sea is testament to
what can happen without
the multiplied risk of having multiple vessels at the two jetties once
Objective 22 'to sustain or enhance the natural environment'
Construction outside of Giant Cuttlefish breeding season is critical to achieve this. Other species
may yet be affected however, including the resident Bottle-nosed dolphin population who feed daily
along the coast between Black Point and Fitzgerald Bay. Cetaceans and cephalopods are both highly
sensitive to submarine noise pollution, for example that caused by blasting and pile-driving, and
cuttlefish, whales and dolphins are at risk of damaging their hearing and balance if exposed to
Objective 23 'to protect the coast from development that will adversely affect the marine and
onshore coastal environment whether by pollution, erosion, damage or depletion of physical
biological resources, interference with natural coastal processes or any other means'
While construction methods may be chosen to minimise harm, ultimately the choice of location
immediately threatens the well being of the adjacent environment and inshore reef. It will deplete,
damage and interfere with the biological resources there, the only question is to what extent.
Alternative locations are available and must be appropriately considered and assessed.
Objective 24 'to not interfere with wildlife habitats'
Driving piles through the site of the highest recorded density of Sepia apama during breeding
season in the region certainly constitutes an interference with wildlife habitat, and the Sepia apama,
while not an EPBC Act listed species, is an iconic species for the region, a tourist attraction, and is
the results of genetic and morphological studies determining whether in fact the Upper Spencer gulf
population is a distinct species or subspecies is currently awaiting scientific publication.
Objective 25 'to not detract from or reduce the value of sites of ecological, scientific,
environmental or educational importance'
This development will fail dismally here, excluding scientists, educators, ecotourists and the
general public from the prime Giant Australian Cuttlefish breeding site at Stoney Point (The
Fenceline) for matters of public safety, or through the degradation of this natural resource, due to
bottom disturbance during construction and shipping movements, silting from spillage from
conveyors, and introduction of invasive species on or in travelling vessels.
Objective 26 'to preserve areas of high landscape and amenity value including.. exposed
cliffs... areas which form an attractive background to tourist developments'
The elevated conveyor system and spill of red iron ore dust from train-cars and conveyor systems
will degrade the amenity of the specific site's existing tourism appeal.
Objective 27 'to maintain or enhance public access to coastal areas in keeping with objectives
for protection of the environment and amenity'
It is highly probably that vehicle access to 'The Fenceline', car-parking, and easy dive access to the
existing world-recognised Stoney Point dive site will be prohibited in the interests of public safety.
Such is standard practise with commercial shipping facilities, including the OneSteel wharf in
Whyalla, which prohibits the public from coming within 25 metres of Company infrastructure. A
similar ruling would render the Stoney Point dive site inaccessible. The ruling at the Santos facility
is 200 metres from the jetty, or 1.2 kilometres when a ship is in dock (these are marked on the
proponent's charts for Santos, but not for the newly proposed jetty).
Objective 31, 'to protect the physical and economic resources of the coast from inappropriate
The only way to consider this development as appropriate, is to dismiss the scientific, cultural,
economic and environmental value of the current profile of the Stoney Point dive site, and Stoney
Point reef as the world's pre-eminent cephalopod study site. It has been visited by experts and film
crews from around the world every year for over a decade, and to run an iron ore jetty straight
through the heart of it, denying future access to those interested, degrading the location's amenity
and potentially the viability of the ecosystem in the event of lapses in environmental management
or accidents at the facility (during construction and operation) is unacceptable. There's only one
mass Giant Australian Cuttlefish aggregation, and there are alternative locations for iron ore jetties.
taged development, or single stage project?
Expression that this is a single stage project is at odds with Attachment 2
which details an
additional tract of land to the west for 'future growth'. I am also skeptical about the limitations of the
deep water at the proposed jetty's end, and suspect that the proponents will consider dredging to
improve the viability of the port. If these possible expanded activities are to be considered, they
ought to be listed in this document, or the project be declared a staged development
. Another criteria
for the staged development status would be that the actual use
of the facility will be in itself an
additional stage of development, as no mention as to how ore will be transported (road or rail
transport conditions) have been mentioned here.
escription of environment and likely impacts
Table 1: Threatened species and likelihood of occurrence with 5km radius of project site.
Southern Right Whales are known to occur, with multiple sightings, often mothers with calves
reported annually by locals and mariners. I have included links to photo, video and news stories to
support this. The are known to visit Black Point, as little as 1 kilometre from the project site.
[See links at end of document, Attachment 6]
are reported to be sighted in the vicinity annually by local divemaster Tony
Bramley. As such they are known to occur.
Great White Sharks
are known to occur in the area, with many news reports of shark encounters
near Point Lowly, especially in conjunction with snapper fishing. As such , they should be listed as
known to occur.
are known to occur in the vicinity. I recorded video evidence personally in 2011
of a sealion coming ashore at Fitzgerald Bay. It features in a video linked at Attachment 6
Other important features of the environment
The subtidal reef habitat described as breeding grounds of the Giant Australian Cuttlefish it is
important to note, extends no further than 150 metres off shore. As their chosen habitat is inshore
and so small in surface area, their habitat is succeptible to spill from the land as well as from
conveyors, as well as the animals themselves being vulnerable to submarine noise pollution,
contamination and turbidity caused by the construction period. This is density observation is
supported by cuttlefish count data collected by Santos and BHP in recent years. While the
proponent suggests that the breeding season attracts hundreds of divers each year, it neglects to
mention snorkelling tourists, and those viewing the animals through glass-bottomed kayaks, or
through other viewing devices from within boats. Their potential as a tourist attraction has been
recently acknowledged by plans to develop a cuttlefish interpretive centre near Whyalla. It would
be absurd to develop such a facility, while at the same time disturbing the animals' habitat,
threatening their continued breeding and limiting public and scientific access to the animals as
safety buffer zones are established around new Port Bonython infrastructure.
On the tourism value of the cuttlefish, the following points are drawn from Andrew Robertson
Marketing & Consulting's
2003 report's executive summary:
1. ranked fifth in South Australia’s “top 20 natural wonders” in The Advertiser on Saturday 14
June 2003, and the Cuttlefish have also generated international interest from marine researchers
and film crews (including the BBC, Japan and Channel 7 locally).
2. The Cuttlefish generated total economic value of $580,000 in 2002, including dive tourism
valued at $248,000, and this has been achieved largely through word of mouth, with no
coordinated promotion or tourism effort.
3. This report estimates that Cuttlefish related tourism in Whyalla could increase to $1.076 million
by 2008, provided that a strategic plan is developed and coordinated tourism effort is
It is unknown if this estimate has been reached, as no comparable publication has followed to my
knowledge. The risk here with the Port Bonython development is twofold- it stands to jeopardise
the future of the cuttlefish and their habitat, while also jeopardising the future growth of the
cuttlefish tourism economy for Whyalla.
(j) other unique or important values of the environment
The Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park is mentioned, but no maps or charts are provided to show its
provisional boundary relative to the port development. Nor are the cuttlefish closure areas marked
on any map. The implications of the marine park's legislation on shipping channels or practicalities
of port operation are not discussed at all.
(l) existing land/marine uses of the area
Boating, fishing and diving activities will be impinged by the port development.
Aquaculture farms have relocated away from Upper Spencer Gulf, due to problems with fish
mortality and production of poor quality fish.
The aquaculture farm relocation suggests there may be other problems with the health of Upper
Spencer Gulf's marine environment, and should support the use of the Precautionary Principle
when considering future developments.
Measures to avoid or reduce impacts
The claims that the 'coastal strip area will be avoided' is dangerously ambiguous. How can an ore-
loading conveyor span the whole coastal strip without structural supports? Surely this statement
requires more detail and explanation.
roposed action is not
There are several wildcard factors which may alter the 'not a controlled action' status of the project.
There are two animals in the region with acute sensitivity to submarine sound pollution, which may
in the near future become listed species under the EPBC Act. The first is the Giant Australian
Cuttlefish, whose population has undergone genetic and morphological studies to determine
whether the population is a unique species or subspecies. This research, led by Dr Bronwyn
Gillanders at Adelaide University is currently awaiting publication. If it is so determined, and its
population continues to decline, it may qualify for immediate listing as a vulnerable, threatened or
endangered species. The other animal worth noting is the local dolphin pod. While they have been
previously described at Common Bottle-nosed Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) it is possible that they
are indeed Burrunan Dolphin (Tursiops Australis), a species of dolphin newly described in 2011,
whose range is thought to extend to Spencer Gulf waters. If so, they would join the tiny Victorian
population of 150 animals, and be a candidate for EPBC Act listing.
The other listed species of marine concern are the Southern Right Whales, Humpback Whales and
Australian Sealions, but all of these are visitors to the region only, with typically a handful of
sightings of each in any given year, according to local anecdotal evidence, and media reports.
This land use map omits current Stoney Point dive site access point, which is located at the
boundary between Santos' property and the proposed development. This is an internationally
advertised dive-site, and this point is shown to be the epicentre of breeding activity for the Giant
Australian Cuttlefish. The cuttlefish mate here, before seeking suitable laying habitat towards Black
Also omitted from the map are shacks on the shores of Fitzgerald Bay, which are <4kms from the
Featured is a green area of land, marked 'FUTURE AREA TO BE LEASED FROM SECTION 248
HUNDRED OF CULTANA TO ENABLE FUTURE GROWTH: 279ha approx.' This contradicts
the application which states that the development will only involve a single stage
[2.7 A staged
development or part of a larger project].
This map suggests that the public will have access beneath the new jetty, to the existing dive site at
the fenceline of Santos' facility. This is unlikely to be the case, as the Onesteel iron ore loading jetty
has a public exclusion zone of 25 metres from all company infrastructure. In this case Spencer Gulf
Port Link must disclose whether the existing dive site 'The Fenceline' will still be accessible.
Relevant sightings of listed species within project area (5km radius)
Locals have told me that each year a small number of whales are sighted, normally in the months
June through August, though it is believed more visit and escape detection. This is a reasonable
assumption, as Southern Right Whales tend to keep a very low profile in the water, and are not as
conspicuous as Humpbacks, who are known to breech and frollick. Southern Rights have been
recorded in the vicinity of the project site with calves, including in photographs and video at the
links below. A juvenile Southern Right Whale was also freed from entanglement in crab pots in the
area in 2002.
Video of wildlife at project site (includes Australia sealion in closing shot)
Photograph of Southern Right Whale and calf near Black Point, 2008
Video of Southern Right Whales near Black Point, 2008
Photos of whales in Upper Spencer Gulf, between Fitzgerald Bay and Port Augusta, 2010-2011
FOI 161204 - Document 2
Public comment on Ref Number: 2012/6336
Thursday, 19 April 2012 5:11:18 PM
Public comment on
Spencer Gulf Port Link/Transport - water/Stoney Point, Eyre Peninsula,
SA/SA/Port Bonython iron ore bulk comodities export facility on Eyre
Date Received: 04 Apr 2012 Reference Number: 2012/6336
Thirteen listed threatened species are known to occur, likely to occur, or may occur within the
vicinity of the development. In addition, the subtidal reefs near the project are an important
breeding ground for the Giant Cuttlefish, Sepia apama. It is not a listed threatened species, but
is of particular conservation significance in the Gulf.
I think this area should not be damaged by development. There is already a threat to the
marine life from the proposed desal plant. The referral submission comments that the
vulnerable slender-billed thornbill could use native vegetation to the north but I assume the
birds are choosing the proposed development area because it best suits their purpose.
Without thorough research on the two areas it is presumptious to assume that both areas suit
the birds equally well and that damage to the area they currently use will not materially affect
them. This is also true for the migrant birds sometimes seen here - that they too could feed
elsewhere. It is just as easy to suggest that the rail network should be adjusted to damage an
area not used by the birds. 200 ha of land, most of it pristine from the photos, is too much for
a mining corporation to damage for the material profit of only its workers and shareholders
while the rest of us suffer yet another degraded and ugly area where once was a stark beauty.
The proposed development will, despite any amount of camouflage, permanently damage the
natural aesthetics of this area.
I believe that the submission fails to address the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 which
protects all native animals throughout the State. The proposed submission will destroy native
vegetation used by vulnerable species and probably affect these species adversely as well.
It also damages the Whyalla Coastal Conservation Zone: Development
within this zone is intended to be subservient to the conservation of the
coastal environment in order to ensure that the fragile coastal environment is protected and
biodiversity maintained. This will obviously not happen.
FOI 161204 - Document 3
Dear Sir/Madam Re: Spencer Gulf Port Link/Transport - water/Stoney Point, Eyre Peninsula, SA/SA/Port Bonython
iron ore bulk comodities export facility on Eyre Peninisula
Reference Number: 2012/6336
I am a marine biologist with experience in marine science research, education, ecotourism and
conservation. I have grave concerns about this proposed development. Whilst these concerns focus
mainly on the environmental impacts of the development, on which I will comment later, there are
also some concerns about the proposal itself. Legislation
In Section 2.4 there is a table detailing relevant South Australian legislation covering pages 9-10. The
table omits references to the Harbours and Navigation Act 1993
, the Maritime Services (Access) Act
, the Fisheries Management Act 2007
and the Marine Parks Act 2007
, all of which are relevant
to the proposal because it includes a jetty, it is within the boundaries of marine park number 10 and
in a fishery closure area. These are serious omissions and need to be addressed before the
development goes any further.
In particular, reference to the Marine Parks Act is significant because whilst the objects of the Act
(Appendix 1) allow for ‘ecologically sustainable development and use of marine environments’ it also
provides a definition of ecologically sustainable development and a series of principles that should
be taken into account, neither of which are sufficiently addressed in this referral or by the proposed
development as a whole. In addition, this Act interacts with at least 12 other South Australian Acts,
some of which are relevant to this proposal. Consultation
Section 2.6, page 17, refers to public consultation. Whilst two significant divisions with the
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) are mentioned (Coastal Protection Board
and Native Vegetation Council), it is significant that consultation with the Eyre Peninsula Natural
Resources Management Board is not listed. This Board has a wide variety of statutory responsibilities
regarding natural resource management of the Eyre Peninsula NRM Region, in which this proposal
falls. Giant Australian cuttlefish
Whilst the referral refers to the giant Australian cuttlefish (Sepia apama
) and the significance of their
breeding aggregation, what the referral fails to mention is that the proposed jetty will go directly
through the centre of their breeding and egg laying ground, an area that is now permanently closed
to fishing for all cephalopod species (Appendix 2).
The referral also fails to mention that last winter (2011) a very large drop in cuttlefish numbers was
observed. This has raised serious concerns for the welfare of this species in upper Spencer Gulf and
for the longevity of the unique breeding aggregation that brings in valuable tourism income to
Work undertaken by the University of Adelaide and the SA Museum, as yet unpublished, strongly
suggests that the cuttlefish in upper Spencer Gulf are a separate and distinct species from other
around Australia. If this is the case then a precautionary approach to development in
the upper Spencer Gulf needs to be taken because this potentially isolated species could already be
suffering from unknown impacts and may go extinct before it has been declared a new species. Introduced species
It is also disconcerting to see on page 33 the penultimate dot point stating that “the jetty piles will
be colonised by a range of marine fauna and flora, providing additional habitat”. This may well be
the case as it is well known that jetties provide excellent reef habitat. However, the jetty also
provides additional habitat for invasive marine species such as Sabella spallanzanii
, which has
recently been documented at Whyalla. Community access and tourism
The referral goes at length to state that the jetty will be constructed to go over the coast to minimise
damage to the reef. However, the proposal says nothing about whether it will still allow the
community access to dive and snorkel at an existing site (shown on page 2 of Attachment part A)
where access is currently provided for cuttlefish tourism. The existing access site is very close to the
proposed jetty site and the company has said nothing about whether the community will still be able
to access this existing site, which has had some infrastructure put in place to improve tourism
A report to the SA Tourism Commission, 2003, concluded that the potential value of tourism based
around cuttlefish at Whyalla could be more than $1 million per annum especially when mixed with
other marine experiences including dolphin watching, fishing, kayaking, snorkeling and diving. This is
extremely valuable and should be included in the deliberations about the potential impacts of the
jetty in this proposal. Damage to benthic marine ecosystems
Whilst the referral also goes at length to state that it will attempt to minimise damage to the reef
habitat where the jetty will be situated, this is downgrading the potential impacts. Jetty construction
is by its nature extremely destructive and disturbing to marine ecosystems, especially the benthic
ecosystems where drilling will destroy habitat. Large amounts of sediment will be lofted into the
water column, which is not usually present in the area and that will only very slowly be drawn away
by the slow currents and tides at the top of the gulf. The impacts of this sediment load have not
been mentioned in the referral and may cause severe damage to the macroalgae that form an
integral part of the rocky reef habitat in the area. Damage can occur in two ways: a) smothering of
photosynthesising fronds, causing the macroalgae to dieback; and b) from scouring rocks, preventing
juvenile algae from attaching and thereby potentially denuding the rocky reef in the area. In
addition, there will be underwater noise pollution, which will disturb the resident dolphin
The jetty could also change the habitat underneath it due to its permanent shading of the benthic
reefs, which could change the ecosystem structure and encourage a different community of
macroalgae consisting of those species that prefer darker areas. Cumulative impacts
The referral has not taken into account the effects of cumulative impacts to the coastal and marine
ecosystems in the upper Spencer Gulf area. Other impacts in the area include:
BHP Billiton is about to build a large desalination plant on the north side of the Point Lowly
Peninsula, which will discharge highly saline brine into an area of the upper Spencer Gulf
where water turnaround is likely to be extremely slow and could potentially accumulate
hypersaline seawater, especially in summer when evaporation is high and there is no
Another desalination plants is proposed at Port Pirie
A third desalination plant is proposed at Point Spencer to the south of Whyalla.
The existing refinery (which has had known leakage problems)
The jetty in this proposal will bring in much larger vessels than are currently able to dock at
the existing jetty. This doubles the chances of serious environmental damage due to:
o Oil spills
o Other pollutants from cape size vessels entering the water
o The introduction and establishment of invasive marine species
o Excess sediment being suspended into the water column
o Collisions with marine mammals
o Ballast water leakages
In addition to these issues, the site is not ideal for cape sized vessels. Deep water access to the jetty
is difficult to navigate and there are better alternative sites for a multi-user bulk commodities port.
Cape size vessels would have to navigate a rip, would have difficult turns to berth and exit, would
need the use of tug boats and would be required to wait for the right tide to be able to get past
choke points at the top of Spencer Gulf and at the Yarraville Shoals west of Nonowie. Alternative sites
The Whyalla City Council have just agreed to rezone an area of land south of Whyalla to enable port
developments in this far more suitable area, as an alternative to the Point Lowly Peninsula. It is
strongly recommended that the proponent is asked to assess the suitability of this area for an
alternative multi-use port.
If you wish to contact me about this submission, please call me on S.47F
. I look forward to
the results of this consultation.
BSc (Hons), BEd
Appendix 1. Objects of the South Australian Marine Parks Act 2007
(1) The objects of this Act are—
(a) to protect and conserve marine biological diversity and marine habitats by declaring and
providing for the management of a comprehensive, adequate and representative system of
marine parks; and
(b) to assist in—
(i) the maintenance of ecological processes in the marine environment; and
(ii) the adaptation to the impacts of climate change in the marine environment; and
(iii) protecting and conserving features of natural or cultural heritage significance; and
(iv) allowing ecologically sustainable development and use of marine environments; and
(v) providing opportunities for public appreciation, education, understanding and enjoyment of
(2) For the purposes of this Act, ecologically sustainable development comprises the use, protection,
conservation, development and enhancement of the marine environment in a way, and at a rate,
that will enable people and communities to provide for their economic, social and physical well-
being and for their health and safety while—
(a) sustaining the potential of the marine environment to meet the reasonably foreseeable needs
of future generations; and
(b) safeguarding the life-supporting capacities and processes of the marine environment; and
(c) avoiding, remedying or mitigating any adverse effects of activities on the marine environment.
(3) The following principles should be taken into account in connection with achieving ecologically
sustainable development for the purposes of this Act:
(a) decision-making processes should effectively integrate both long term and short term
economic, environmental, social and equity considerations;
(b) if there are threats of serious or irreversible harm to the marine environment, lack of full
scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent harm;
(c) decision-making processes should be guided by the need to evaluate carefully the risks of any
situation or proposal that may adversely affect the marine environment and to avoid,
wherever practicable, causing any serious or irreversible harm to the marine environment;
(d) the present generation should ensure that the health, diversity and productivity of the marine
environment is maintained or enhanced for the benefit of future generations;
(e) a fundamental consideration should be the conservation of biological diversity and ecological
(f) environmental factors should be taken into account when valuing or assessing assets or
services, costs associated with protecting or restoring the marine environment should be
allocated or shared equitably and in a manner that encourages the responsible use of the
marine environment, and people who obtain benefits from the marine environment, or who
adversely affect or consume natural resources, should bear an appropriate share of the costs
that flow from their activities;
(g) if the management of the marine environment requires the taking of remedial action, the first
step should, insofar as is reasonably practicable and appropriate, be to encourage those
responsible to take such action before resorting to more formal processes and procedures;
(h) consideration should be given to Aboriginal heritage, and to the interests of the traditional
owners of any land or other natural resources;
(i) consideration should be given to other heritage issues, and to the interests of the community
in relation to conserving heritage items and places;
(j) the involvement of the public in providing information and contributing to processes that
improve decision-making should be encouraged;
(k) the responsibility to achieve ecologically sustainable development should be seen as a shared
responsibility between the State government, the local government sector, the private sector,
and the community more generally.
FOI 161204 - Document 4
EPBC Comments on Referral - Spencer Gulf Port link/Transport-water / Stoney
Point, Eyre Peninsula, SA/SA /Port Bonython iron ore bulk commodities export
facility On Eyre Peninsula
. Ref. No. 2012/6336
These comments are submitted by the Alternative Port Working Party [APWP ], a group
of concerned Whyalla community members who have been communicating with the
Local and State Government and SGPL re this project and the other projects relating to
industrializing the Lowly Peninsula, the most valuable natural coastal area in the Whyalla
region, over the past 4years..
The comments are set out to follow the four documents submitted by SGPL. Referral and Proposed Action
1 Summary of Proposed action
The area shown and reference made under2.3 indicates that 200 ha may be the actual
infrastructure footprint but is understating land area required to accommodate the foot
print and this needs to be clarified.
1.8 Time Frame .
SGPL have been involved with the State Government for approximately 4 years
regarding various stages of this port development negotiation/ investigation.
1.9 -10-11 Alternative to proposed action, time frame, State Assessment Alternatives for ports on the east coast of Eyre Peninsula have been suggested
Up to 9 ports have been on the agenda at various times and has resulted in various
outcomes. No strategic planning has been done to provide the most appropriate
outcome and currently multiple projects have been approved or are in the
investigation / approval pipeline. On the basis of following this approach multiple
ports will result in multiple environmental and social impact and a less
competitive big picture outcome for a port in this region.
See comments section 2.3 and 2.5
1.12 Component of larger action
Although this port, as proposed by SGPL, is declared as not being a component of
larger action, it should be noted that there are multiple industrial and
infrastructure projects currently in place, approved, being investigated for the Port
Bonython area. ie. it is not part of a larger action by SGPL but is part of a larger
action in play for the Port Bonython/Lowly Peninsula by multiple developers with
support and encouragement by the SA Govt.
2. Detailed description of proposed action
2.1 Description of proposed action
The inclusion of a refueling facility does not describe its capacity, location or what it
will be refueling.[motor vehicles, locomotives , tugs or ships ]
The jetty is shown with a T head for the berth[s] vs L shaped twin berth on other
figures in other documents.
2.2 and 2.3 Alternatives in taking the proposed actions
As stated, the SA Government instructed or encouraged the developers to express an
interest in the Port specifically at Port Bonython.
When other alternatives were suggested the SA Government claimed to have carried
out a review of two ports south of Whyalla. The outcome is that Port Bonython is the
Government’s preferred site with the review/investigation report not available to the
2.4 Context ,planning framework State /Local Govt requirements
South Australia s Strategic Plan.
The ongoing investigation of Port Bonython for a commodity port does not align with
the outcomes from the Whyalla Region State Strategic Planning workshops in 2011
nor the current direction that is being considered by the Whyalla City Council.
Due to the multiple developments in place and under review for the Lowly
Peninsula[Port Bonython] including the SGPL proposal the only acceptable
environmental outcome is an EIS for each project .Each EIS must address not only
the effect of each project but also the compounding effect of all projects.
Whyalla City Development Plan.
The Whyalla City Council is currently undertaking a review of its strategic plan
which should flow through to the development plan. Recent motions carried at the
Council meeting support the investigation of alternative sites for the industries
proposed for the Lowly Peninsula [Port Bonython ] including a rezoning of land
south of Whyalla for industry and port infrastructure.
The presence of the following industry ;
SGPL - commodity Port
BHP Billiton - Desalination plant,
Port Bonython Fuels- Diesel storage distribution and refining
Ammomium Nitrate Plant
Liquified Natural Gas Plant
Santos- Hydrocarbon processing and shipping.
will detract from the visual amenity of the area, impact on recreation and tourism
and increase the risk to the marine environment.
For example the smallest of the three SGPL commodity sheds [shed 304 ] will be
approximately the length of the Sydney Cricket Ground and half the height of the
Sydney Opera House.
This must surely impact on the amenity of the area even with best intent to minimize
impact and camouflage.
The total area of the Lowly Peninsula proposed for industrial development is
approximately 2500 ha and this would become an unattractive entry to the
recreation, living and tourist areas.
All of these issues affect the liveabilty for the regional area. Application of alternative
sites should enable the best of both outcomes. That is, the jobs and prosperity
associated with the proposed industrial developments of the Lowly Peninsula. and
developing the Lowly Peninsula around lifestyle and natural assets and protecting the
marine environment [ refer also Marine Environment ref 3.3a,3.3d,3.3i,3.3j and 3.3L
dot point 1]
2.6 Public Consultation.
There is an urgent need for a Public consultation plan and commitment to its delivery.
The performance of the SA Government and Flinders Ports as the lead for SGPL has
There has been no proactive action to keep the general public, including the community
of Whyalla, advised of what is proposed regarding a port on the Lowly Peninsula.
The information provided on the SGPL website has been incorrect and out of date and
it has taken twelve months of lobbying to get information from the State Government
on the big picture regarding their position on the industrialization of the Lowly
The lack of a strategic approach to the commodity port has delayed progress and
appears to be causing outcomes in conflict with the goals originally set out for the SA.
Government, industry group, the Resource and Energy Sector Infrastructure
4 Measures to avoid or reduce impacts
Adoption of the points documented may reduce the impacts but will not make the
project acceptable for this unique coastal and marine environment .Of particular note is
“ iron ore only, no toxic materials”.
5 Conclusion on the likelihood of significant impacts
As mentioned above, the port project alone, and even more so in combination with the
other existing and proposed industrial projects, is not acceptable for the Lowly
Peninsula and Upper Spencer Gulf marine inverse estuary environment .
The major issues are visual impact, access on land and risk to the cuttlefish and fish
nurseries. There is no mention of the risk of ship oil spills or the potential impact of
marine bottom disturbance and turbidity as a result of many Cape vessels operating in
the restricted channels with significant areas of minimum under keel clearance[UKC]
for example Yarraville Shoal and adjacent to the Port Bonython jetty
. Attachment 1 Land use in area.
Other industrial developments not shown on figure ie PBFuels -approved, Ammonium
Nitrate Plant -being investigated, LNG plant being considered [these are included on a
map produced by SA Govt .-Port Bonython Proposed Infrastructure.DPLG-ID 3684.
Note. Layout for Port on this doc differs from Flinders Port Land use in Project .
The cuttlefish diving access and viewing point is shown on the Land Use in Project
Area figure to be over a kilometer to the west of the proposed jetty.
The current primary shore based access point /cuttlefish aggregation is east of the
jetty adjacent to the Santos fence line [ almost under the proposed jetty]. Attachment 2. Land tenure plan
Jetty shown with reverse L jetty head, twin berth.
Santos Emergency area [zone 3, 2 nautical miles centre from jetty head not shown on
the tenure plan.
Area of tenure approx 800 ha Attachment 3. Bulk commodities Storage Facility onshore layout.
Refueling facility not shown.
Plan differs from SA Govt. layout referred to in Attachment 1 above Attachment 4. Shed general arrangement and Dimensions
Note this is for shed 304 which is approximately 25% shorter than the other
Attachment 5. South Australian Development Act
Port Project on the Lowly Peninsula should never have been given Section 46
Appears inadequate strategic planning was done, alternatives and total industrial
impact not given serious consideration . Attachment 6. EPBC Protected Matters Report
Although the cuttlefish is not listed in this category there is much information in the
media and exchanged between scientists, that they are a unique species and possibly
Attachment 7 and 8
No comment Attachment 9. Spencer Gulf Iron Ore Facility Draft Port Rules
Operating under these port rules appears to put significant reliance on human control to
exit the jetty, and under certain situations and could severely limit the number of Cape
ship movements, due to UKC in the channels, berth when combined with tide and wind
conditions. It is difficult to see how 50 million tonnes per annum of iron ore [more than
4 ships a week] plus the cargo through the Santos jetty could be efficiently
Accommodated, unless there is intention to dredge in the future. SGPL have, in the
past, repeatedly stated there will be no dredging.
The number of ship movements envisaged will also need to take into account the cape
ship movements in the Whyalla Port area.
FOI 161204 - Document 5
FOI 161204 - Document 6
FOI 161204 - Document 7
Sent: Friday, 20 April 2012 8:42 PM
To: EPBC Referrals
Subject: Comment on Reference Number 2012/6336
Comment on referral Spencer Gulf Port Link/Transport - water/Stoney Point, Eyre
Peninsula, SA/SA/Port Bonython iron ore bulk comodities export facility on Eyre
Reference Number 2012/6336
Dear Madam or Sir
I hereby strongly oppose to the plan to construct an iron ore bulk comodities
export facility in the Upper Spencer Gulf.
Given the extremely important ecologic role that the upper reaches of Spencer
Gulf play in Australian waters, this region deserves enhanced protection from
marine pollution and enhanced ship traffic. Following the important
precautionary principle and given that this region is considered to host one of
the proposed marine parks, the proposed construction of a shipping facility in
close vicinity of aggregation sites of the Giant Australian Cuttlefish - an
iconic and distinctive SA marine species - must not be approved.
I also like to point out that my expertise as internationally renowned expert in
the oceanography of the region was not considered in the "discussion". I take
this "sidelining" as evidence that the more critical views of scientific experts
such as myself are intentionally ignored. Nevertheless, I am happy to provide a
detailed scientific assessment of potential marine impacts of this development
on request (and free of charge) and I invite you to enhance your knowledge about
physical processes that shape the Upper Spencer Gulf unique by reading the
Kämpf, J., Payne, N., & Malthouse, P., 2010. Marine connectivity in a large
inverse estuary. JOURNAL OF COASTAL RESEARCH, 26(6), 1047-1056.
Kämpf, J., Brokensha, C., & Bolton, T.F., 2009. Hindcasts of the fate of
desalination brine in large inverse estuaries: Spencer Gulf and Gulf St.
Vincent, South Australia. Desalination and Water Treatment, 2(1-3), 325-333.
I hope that this knowldege will help in making better informed decisions in SA.
Assoc. Prof. S.47F
School of the Environment
Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia
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