Legislative Council

QUESTION: Torrens Island Quarantine Station

October 19th, 2017

On the 19th of October, Mark asked the Minister for Sustainability, Conservation and the Environment a question regarding the Torrens Island Quarantine Station.

The Hon. M.C. PARNELL: The last time the issue of the state heritage-listed Torrens Island Quarantine Station was debated in this place was over seven years ago, and there were proposals then to rezone and subdivide the land for industrial redevelopment. There was public opposition at that time and, thankfully, the government adopted an alternative course that involved an addition of 24 hectares of land to the Torrens Island Conservation Park and the transfer of the quarantine station heritage precinct to the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI). DPTI have since engaged the services of Richard Woods of Habitable Places Architects to draw up a comprehensive conservation management plan. DPTI went on to carry out urgently needed conservation works to weatherproof the heritage-listed buildings.

The Maritime Museum now conducts regular and popular tours of the Torrens Island Quarantine Station, and the Friends of Torrens Island, under a licence agreement with DPTI, play an active role in improving the amenity and appearance of the precinct.

My questions to the minister are:

1. Given its strategic location within the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary and close proximity to the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary, has the minister considered how the Torrens Island Quarantine Station can be better used for its ecotourism potential?

2. As the jetty is the key access point from the river for tourists to access the site, can the minister advise whether the jetty is going to be restored, because currently it is unsafe and unusable?


The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change): I thank the honourable member for his most important question. Indeed, the Hon. Mr Parnell would be able to tell you, unlike the members opposite, that his constituents will tell him that the South Australian government is doing fantastic things in renewable energy as well, in addition to heritage issues.

The honourable member is asking me to make some comments about a plan in terms of heritage tourism or other parts of our tourism plan. Members will remember that, just recently, the Hon. Leon Bignell and I released a document about how we can approach the private sector to come to us with ideas, and certain iconic sites, about a proposal to run a private sector business in conjunction with some of our iconic natural resource sites, be they national parks, conservation parks, other places of great natural heritage importance or places associated with them nearby. I think this is an opportunity in a similar vein, and we would be very open to that.

I think I said in this place that the list that we put out there is to stimulate discussion. It consists of places that we thought would be obvious jumping-off points for people to consider, but it wasn't limited to those. There may be some good suggestions about how we can incorporate some of the natural heritage down there, particularly around the quarantine station and that long history. I suppose it might also be of interest to those people interested in energy solutions and how advanced we are in this state regarding the energy solutions of the future being renewable and what potential the site might have to assist us with some of that as well.

The options are open. The government is very pleased to take those suggestions that come from the private sector and put a ruler over them and see if we can actually do some work together to come up with something that's of mutual benefit, not just to the community but also to support the natural resource values of a park, of a heritage site or indeed in relation to future heritage when future generations will look back at this time as a turning point in our history of this state being proud enough of its own abilities to make determinations about its energy future, whereas the Liberal opposition in this place want to outsource those sorts of decisions to its federal counterpart party. I don't even know why you would bother having a state Liberal Party anymore.

The Hon. D.W. Ridgway: Show us your modelling, minister.

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: The Hon. David Ridgway again says, 'Why don't we get the modelling? Why have we bought into a federal plan on energy with no modelling whatsoever?' That is what the Hon. David Ridgway is asking for. Why didn't they ask for that before Steven Marshall, the member for Dunstan and Leader of the Opposition, signed themselves up to a plan and they didn't even see the detail of it.

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