Thanks to Gavin Malone of Lot 50-Kanyanyapilla for bringing this to our attention. The Willunga Environment Centre is currently calling together a meeting of local environmental groups to stop the sell-off of this invaluable ecological and cultural asset. Stay posted for more details.

The Washpool, the major wetland site in the Willunga Basin at Sellicks-Aldinga Beach, is under threat.

There has been a twenty-five year community campaign to protect the Washpool and one issue is to have the ownership, currently under diverse government agencies, consolidated into one parcel of land with the aim of the Washpool being given appropriate conservation status. The consolidation is finally being achieved and hopefully not far away. Unfortunately one agency, SA Water, is now considering the sale of a parcel of land on the edge of the Washpool, land best kept as part of a buffer for the main lagoons.

The Friends of the Willunga Basin, of which I am a committee member, is participating in a campaign to retain this land, marked on the attached image. An open version of the FOWB pro-forma letter/email to the Minister for its members is below. I encourage you to send this or your version to the Minister by either email or snail mail. An avalanche of submissions is noted within a Ministerial office. I recollect that when I was a bureaucrat that one Ministerial submission received on a community issue represented the views of many others, it was really that only 1 in 50 or 1 in 100 would bother to write but shared the opinion or view.

One point at issue here is that the land is already owned by us through the agency of the Minister for Water. The Minister for the Environment is the one and the same person, David Speirs, but his agencies have their own agendas. In this case, SA Water is not being concerned with the protection of water it cannot package and sell!!

Gavin Malone
Visual Artist and Cultural Geographer
Co-founder CRED: Cultural Research Education Design
Lot 50-Kanyanyapilla: Ecological and Cultural Regeneration


Sample letter to Minister Spiers

Mr David Speirs
Minister for Environment and Water
GPO Box 1047
Adelaide 5001

Re: The Washpool, Aldinga Beach-Sellicks Beach

Dear Minister

I have an interest in the health and preservation of the Washpool, a significant remnant wetland both ecologically and culturally.

The once vast wetland that ran ‘behind the dunes’ along much of the Adelaide Metropolitan coastline has been lost, as has another regional wetland at McLaren Vale, further emphasising the conservation value of the Washpool. In addition, the Washpool is a significant traditional site for the Kaurna people and a locality within the Tjilbruke Dreaming, the most culturally significant creation narrative in the Adelaide region.

I am aware of and support FOWB and other community groups in their lobbying for the consolidation of the mixed-government ownership that currently prevails across the Washpool Conservation Area and the Aldinga Scrub into a single ownership under the custodianship of the Minister for Environment, The present situation of multiple land titles held within multiple Ministerial portfolios (Environment, Water, Transport and Planning) along with the City of Onkaparinga impedes effective conservation and cultural management. Via FOWB, I understood that progress is being made towards this goal.

I am therefore most alarmed to hear that some of the SA Water land parcel to the east of the main lagoon and, specifically, the land to the west and north of the Justs Road/Button Road intersection, might not be included in the proposed future ownership arrangements.

Like the Friends of Willunga Basin, I am totally opposed to the potential loss of this important public environmental asset and open space – and to the loss of control over future land use. The land in question is critical to the integrity of the Washpool Conservation Area and allowing it to pass into private hands can only increase the environmental pressure the Washpool is already under.

In addition, the loss of this land partially negates regional conservation initiatives through the acquisition and dedication of Glenthorne as a National Park by your Government at your initiative. The land in question is equally if not more significant than land at Glenthorne and is already held by the Crown. Recognition and dedication for conservation purposes is capital cost neutral to the Government.

The irretrievable loss of this integrity and of the long-term opportunity it represents would be very regrettable. I urge you not to allow it to happen.

Yours faithfully