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To: SA Environment Minister & Federal Environment Minister

Save the Penguins of Lipson Island!

Save the Penguins of Lipson Island!

Dear Ministers,

We the undersigned are writing to urge you to request that the Centrex Metals Port Spencer bulk commodities export port development is relocated away from Lipson Cove and Lipson Island Conservation Park, to a less environmentally sensitive area.

Centrex Metals and the State have shown a flagrant disregard for the known (and unknown) environmental values of this iconic Eyre Peninsula destination by conducting inadequate biological surveys, and attempting to bypass referring the project to the EPBC Act for Federal environmental assessment. The Lipson Cove and Lipson Island area is home to a variety of rare, vulnerable, and endangered species, and is also popular recreational destination for locals and tourists, as featured in the book 'Australia's 101 Best Beaches'. Little Blue Penguins and Hooded Plovers are among the resident species, while visitors include white-bellied sea eagles , southern right whales, fairy terns, bottlenose dolphins and Australian sealions. The lack of effort to date invested by Centrex in assessing the ecology of Lipson Island and its surrounding waters leave us with no confidence that the company will prove to be responsible environmental managers of this fragile area.

The island (declared a conservation park in 1967) lies just 1 kilometre south of the project site on Eyre Peninsula's eastern coast and 1.4 kilometres from the proposed loading jetty where iron ore and grain are to be exported in Cape-sized vessels. This will be the first and only industrial development in the area, bringing with it new impacts which include serious new noise and light pollution sources which are likely to disturb the roosting birds (Lipson Cove Management Plan, SA Department of Lands, 1988). Damage to seagrass habitat from seagrass shading and the introduction of invasive species translocated by international vessels are of further concern. We are also concerned about the cumulative impact of the project's shipping traffic and desalination discharge, when considered in association with similar developments planned for Spencer Gulf's coast.

The contractor conducting the two consecutive days of surveys, Donato Environmental Services, detailed the seasonal bias and data deficiency of the surveys in Appendix J of the project's Public Environment Report. A detailed summary and analysis of this has been made and is available at and we invite you to read it.

Ultimately, we believe Lipson Cove is an obviously inappropriate location for this proposed development. We urge you to take an appropriate stand on this matter, and insist that Centrex Metals consider alternative locations away from Lipson Cove to avoid placing unneccessary and unreasonable new pressures on this fragile location.

Why is this important?

Lipson Island may be more important as a bird rookery than we know. While Centrex's report predicts the colony to be in decline, it does so simply because this is the trend at other monitored sites in South Australia. This assumption was made without conducting a formal count of the existing Little Blue Penguin population on Lipson Island. As this is the northern most Little Blue Penguin colony in Spencer Gulf, we believe this assumption to be irresponsible. It demonstrates the company's lack of will to show due diligence with their environmental assessment of the project's impact, and a reluctance to accept responsibility for future impacts to the colony and other present rare, vulnerable and endangered species.

How it will be delivered

This petition will be delivered personally to Minister Caica in Adelaide, and Minister Tony Burke via post or email.

Reasons for signing

  • because we have to save the penguins
  • I love penguins-andy
  • Penguins are beautiful creatures and can't speak for themselves so someone has to!


2017-01-19 15:42:42 +1100

We're nearly there, folks! Our first stage goal of 500 signatures is now within reach.

Furthermore, a successful Freedom of Information request fulfilled this week has release all written submissions made in response to the the Port Spencer proposal when it was seeking Federal environmental approval.

The submissions are available for you to download and read here:

Owing to the depressed iron ore price, the port proposal remains a proposal only, so there is still time to advocate for the protection of Lipson Island and Lipson Cove from industrial development that threatens the welfare of penguins and other native fauna.