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Kangaroo Island Transformation Project

Kangaroo Island is currently undergoing an economic transition, with over $171 million of projects either proposed, approved or under planning assessment expected to be delivered over the next five years. An additional 300+ jobs will be created on Kangaroo Island during this period of growth, in addition to 180 short term construction jobs.

Under the Commissioner for Kangaroo Island Act, the Commissioner for Kangaroo Island, Wendy Campana is responsible for assisting in improving the local economy. The Transformation Project aims to deliver benefits to Kangaroo Island businesses, industry and the local workforce that will arise from developments taking place on the island. This will be achieved by a three-pronged approach.

Transformation Project

A complete overview of the Transformation Project and its component elements is available here (June 2017).

Growth Program

The Growth Program, which is being delivered by the Kangaroo Island Council in partnership with OCKI and funding from the Australian Government’s Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF), has continued to deliver results. The Project includes three streams:

  1. Local Events:  business networking, half day events, immersion activities and meet the investor events.
  2. Strategic Planning/Collaboration: support for collaboration with industry bodies; conduct of a workforce skills audit;
  3. Leadership & Capability: emerging leaders program, business leadership courses and mentoring/coaching.

So far the project has facilitated important partnerships between businesses and investors, industry growth events, business immersion programs, industry collaboration projects, skills audits, coaching and mentoring sessions and a leadership program.

This program is expected to create 150 interactions with individual businesses. A business excellence fund was created to support strategic growth workshops and mentoring for 10 businesses and build on the achievements of this project.

A key activity of the program has been the conduct of the Leadership Development Program.  11 Kangaroo Islanders went through the program which was held over five months and included coaching sessions and workshops. The final aspect of the program involved participants attending a two day event in Adelaide where they were introduced to a range of business leaders and high performing organisations.  The program was facilitated by Brian Cunningham and was a tremendous success.

Beverages Project

Through the Beverages Project, which has now formally concluded, there have been 36 new listings of Kangaroo Island beverages appearing on the mainland. There were also 26 events held during Tasting Australia, which further promoted Kangaroo Island’s quality beverage offerings. Businesses involved in the project are now building on the achievements and learnings to consider future opportunities for promotion and distribution.

Economic, Social and Ecological Sustainability Indicators for Kangaroo Island

With significant economic growth expected for the island, the Commissioner has partnered with the Kangaroo Island Council to determine the ‘carrying capacity’ of the island. A set of indicators will be developed that will help to measure the social, economic and environmental impacts of development, and the impacts of a growing population and increasing visitation.

As Kangaroo Island’s economy relies on its pristine environment, this project will help inform individuals, businesses, planners and developers in ensuring sustainable development on the island. The indicators will also be a useful resource for OCKI, the Council and other government departments. View the Project Brief.


Feral Pigs

Earlier this year, a report was finalised that assessed the economic impact of feral pigs on KI’s agricultural production. With funding support from the OCKI, Agriculture KI will soon undertake the next phase of surveying farmers impacted by the damage caused by feral pigs.  This survey will capture information on the costs associated to remediating land and will add to the already identified economic impact data captured to date.  This information will be invaluable for inclusion in future funding submissions to support management strategies.

Black Spots Survey 

With the support of the Economic Growth Local Advisory Board, OCKI conducted a survey of KI businesses to ascertain the impact of telecommunication black spots on the Island.  The survey revealed that the top black spots are on the North Coast, Vivonne Bay, the western end of the Island, Dudley Peninsula, South Coast and Stokes Bay. 

37% of respondents indicated that they encounter telecommunications difficulties with annual costs ranging from $1,000 - $5,000 (24% of respondents) and $21,000 (16% of respondents).  When asked about their perception of impacts on tourism and sense of personal security – 83% of respondents felt that there was a negative impact on tourists and tourism. 42% felt that black spots impacted on connecting with service providers such as police, fire and ambulance.  The survey results have been provided to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, the Hon. Tim Whetstone MP who was seeking specific information on black spot areas which included 47 sites identified by the community.

Three Year Strategic Plan for Agriculture on KI

Agriculture Kangaroo Island (AgKI) is in the process of developing a three year strategic plan. The strategy seeks to maximise opportunities for agribusinesses on the Island and identify key priorities for the industry.

The Office of the Commissioner for Kangaroo Island worked with AgKI to undertake preliminary engagement to inform the development of the strategy. A workshop was held on Thursday 1 September and was attended by around 40 representatives from KI's agriculture industry. The survey and workshop helped to identify the following priorities for the industry:

  • Increased productivity
  • Greater investment in research and development (R&D)
  • Native Species/Feral Animals
  • Benchmarking
  • Use of the KI Brand
  • Small kill facility

Click here to view the report on workshop's findings.

Kangaroo Island Visual Arts

The Office of the Commissioner for Kangaroo Island (OCKI) has undertaken consultation with Kangaroo Island’s visual arts community:

Kangaroo Island Arts Committee

OCKI established an Arts Committee seeking representation from KI’s key arts organisations and events committees and a cross section of artists.The Committee assisted the Commissioner to develop strategies to address the priorities identified and concluded its term in April 2018.

Kangaroo Island Workforce Development Project

The Department for Industry and Skills (DIS) through the Jobs First Employment Projects (JFEP) program worked in partnership with the Office of the Commissioner for Kangaroo Island to assist businesses engaged in the Kangaroo Island Transformation project.

The Workforce Development Project seeks to facilitate the engagement of employees for developments on the island by providing a single point of contact for job seeker referral agencies and developers.

The Adelaide Training and Employment Centre (ATEC) was engaged to undertake this project. They will identify the work force needs arising from developments, work with agencies to support job seeker engagement, and report to DIS on skills development needs.

A Kangaroo Island Jobs webpage has been established to list employment and training opportunities. Maria is the workforce coordinator with ATEC and can be contacted via email:

View the Project Brief.

Kangaroo Island Projects Economic Impacts Study

The Office of the Commissioner for Kangaroo Island aimed to determine the economic impacts across the Island's industry groups for the $171 in anticipated development projects taking place on the Island. This Study helped to identify the direct and indirect benefits that could be realised for Kangaroo Island businesses, and potential areas of industry growth. This study assisted in identifying the commercial and workforce needs related to developments, to ensure businesses are ready to be involved in economic growth opportunities on the Island. 
View the project brief.

This project is complemented by the Transformation Project, which will provide business support services to industry groups in light of the direct and indirect impacts of developments.

Energy Security

Reliable and affordable electricity is an essential ingredient to the Island’s future. However the island had a rather unique vulnerability in that was connected to the mainland and the broader National Electricity Market (NEM) via a single undersea electricity cable. The 14km cable was over 20 years old when discussions took place regarding options for securing the Island's future energy.

The Commissioner appointed an Energy Security Focus Group in September 2015. This group played an advisory role to the Commissioner and represented the views of various Kangaroo Island industry groups and businesses in relation to options for the replacement of the undersea cable.

SA Power Networks installed a new 33kV submarine cable from Fishery Beach to Cuttlefish Bay in 2018. The cost of the replacement of the undersea cable was $25.6 million.

More information on the decision to replace the cable is available in the following documents:

Local Produce Project

OCKI engaged the South Australian Centre for Economic Studies to undertake research on the demand for local produce on Kangaroo Island. Fresh and packaged food supplies are required across the island at restaurants, hotels and retail outlets. With increasing demand by consumers for locally sourced products, the project quantified the demand for produce that could be provided by local businesses and agriculturists.

OCKI has been working with Agriculture KI to determine the types and varieties of produce that KI has the capacity to produce. The findings of the project were included in this report:
Local Food Production Survey Report (PDF, 893 KB) - South Australian Centres for Economic Studies - September 2017

View the Project Brief.

The Case for Kangaroo Island

The Regional Australia Institute was commissioned to develop a report on the ‘case for Kangaroo Island’, which identified the unique social and economic circumstances that characterise Kangaroo Island. The 2015 report The Case for Kangaroo Island identifies the challenges and opportunities that are specific to the Island.

View the Project Brief.