NCSSA EPBC Act submission re rocket launch facility planned for Whalers Way

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Two mothers and calves Southern Right Whales in Sleaford Bay Sept 2021Whalers Way is an area dedicated to nature conservation, specifically protected under South Australian legislation. It also contains habitat for threatened species listed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), and it is a high bushfire risk area. It is not the right location for this rocket Launch Complex, an industrial development requiring an array of large infrastructure and involving explosions. Particularly, this proposed action as currently described will have unacceptable impact on the vulnerable Southern Emu-Wren (Eyre Peninsula subspecies). One of the launch pads is planned for the precise area within the Whalers Way site that is a ‘hotspot’ for that subspecies. If the proponent will not alter the proposed location of this launch pad, then this referral should be deemed ‘clearly unacceptable’.

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Whaler's Bay - NCSSA comments on EPBC Act referral September 2021

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"The NCSSA notes that other commercial rocket launching facilities exist or are in development in Australia, including in Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory4 and at Abbott Point in Queensland5 . It is therefore highly likely that the launch capabilities that could be offered from Whalers Way are achievable from elsewhere, but without the associated environmental damage and ongoing risk.

It is difficult for anyone except those with a background in rocket science to assess to feasibility of potential launch sites, and to date this has only been done by the proponent, a party that stands to profit from this private development. An independent review of potential locations for this Launch Complex is therefore required that objectively assesses the feasibility of alternate, less environmentally sensitive sites."

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EPBC Amendment (Streamlining Environmental Approvals) Bill 2020

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The NCSSA does not support handing over decision-making power under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act) to the States and Territories. Billed as 'streamlining', this reform would actually weaken national environmental protection because States and Territories are not resourced for, nor charged with the remit of, ensuring the adequate protection of Matters of National Environmental Significance as identified in the EPBC Act.

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Pastoral Lands Bill consultation

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NCSSA does not support the proposed Pastoral Lands Bill. It does not reflect the outcomes of public consultation on the current Pastoral Land Management and Conservation Act 1989, and it does not explicitly provide for nature conservation in the rangelands.
Pastoralism is not the only legitimate land use across this vast expanse of South Australia, and any new regulatory framework must reflect this. Specifically, lease holders should be pro-actively supported to manage all or part of their leases for nature conservation, including by deriving income from emerging environmental markets such as carbon offsetting.

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Wilderness Protection Areas on Kangaroo Island – management plan rewrite

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In "re-writing" the management plans for five Wilderness Protection Areas on Kangaroo Island, NCSSA called for their outstanding wilderness quality to be preserved. Protecting these large, intact natural ecosystems is particularly important in light of a changing climate since they provide opportunity for the migration and adaptation of species in a way that smaller reserves do not.

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