Save the Penguins of Lipson Island!

To: SA Environment Minister Paul Caica & Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke

Dear Ministers Caica and Burke,

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 desitination for locals and tourists, soon to be featured in the book 'Australia's 101 Best Beaches'. Little Blue Penguins, Fairy Terns and Hooded Plovers are among the resident species, while frequent visitors include White-bellied Sea Eagles , Southern Right Whales, various dolphin species 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 season 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 to the north or west 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

  • Mr P. 2014-08-19 12:42:11 +1000
    because we have to save the penguins
  • Robert I. 2013-04-27 02:07:10 +1000
    I love penguins-andy
  • Samantha G. 2013-04-26 05:57:24 +1000
    Penguins are beautiful creatures and can't speak for themselves so someone has to!