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Office of the Commissioner for Kangaroo Island

Beach on Kangaroo Island

A Message from the Commissioner

Wendy Campana As you may be aware, Kangaroo Island experienced significant fires around the Gosse and Vivonne Bay areas following a heatwave across South Australia. Thanks to the firefighters and volunteers on KI and those coming over from the mainland to provide support. It provides us all with a timely reminder of the volatile nature of the elements on the Island and the importance of having fire management plans in place, supporting our firefighters and volunteers and thanking them for the incredible support they provide at these difficult times.

The Office of the Commissioner for Kangaroo Island (OCKI) continues its forward momentum as we head towards the end of 2018.

There have been a number of key achievements for the Island in 2018 such as:

  • The opening of the new Kangaroo Island Airport terminal;
  • New business ventures such as Kangaroo Island Connect and Mistere Spa and Retreat Kangaroo Island;
  • Commencement of KI Connect ferry services; and

A new Kangaroo Island Sculpture Trail in Penneshaw.

We are also about to commence the biggest cruise ship season that the Island has seen with 28 ships expected to visit the shores of the Island, carrying nearly 60,000 visitors. 

High prices for wool, lamb, mutton and grain will see good financial returns for KI’s producers and build on our reputation for producing high-quality products from the Island’s pristine environment.

I have also been pleased that a number of projects OCKI has supported or been involved with have delivered results for local businesses and industry groups. In particular, the Business Development Project led by the Kangaroo Island Council in partnership with OCKI and with funding from the Australian Government’s Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) have been a success. A new round of funding is being sought by the Kangaroo Island Industry and Brand Alliance (KIIBA) in association with the other industry bodies on KI, to continue to build on progress and deliver further programs to support business growth on the Island, leadership development and capacity building.

Over the past 12 – 18 months we have seen 30 business on the Island either expand or establish themselves. Many of these businesses have received support through the programs conducted through the Business Development Project.

Recently, a Bill that included provisions to repeal the Commissioner for Kangaroo Island Act, which forms the legislative basis for my role and the operation of our Office, did not pass through Parliament. This means that the legal framework for my role will continue to exist, however operations will depend on funding arrangements. In the meantime, I will continue to work within our budget to support the Kangaroo Island community in accessing government services, ensuring the adequate provision of infrastructure and working across government to enhance the local economy.  I am also in discussions with the Minister for Planning, the Hon. Stephan Knoll MP, regarding transition arrangements for the various activities and roles that my Office has undertaken.

This e-news provides a summary of the key activities of our Office and partners. If you have any enquiries that I might be able to assist with, please don’t hesitate to contact my Office.


2017/18 Annual Report Released

In October, the 2017/18 Annual Report for the Office of the Commissioner for Kangaroo Island was tabled in Parliament after it was presented to the Minister for Planning by the Commissioner. The Report sets out key activities of the Office that includes:

  • Securing significant funding for projects, sponsorships and research on Kangaroo Island –through OCKI funding, grant contributions and government collaboration.
  • Extensive engagement with individuals, community groups, industry, and businesses to provide information and access to government services.
  • Projects that have supported business development such as the beverages project and the Business Development Project.

Read the full report on our website.

Kangaroo Island Future Directions Forum

On Friday 30 November, over 60 people attended the ‘Kangaroo Island Future Directions’ forum that included a keynote address form the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon. David Ridgway MLC. Participants represented KI’s business community as well as key developments on the island such as: American River Resort, The Cliffs Golf Course, Mistere Spa and Retreat, and Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers.

The event outlined key areas of growth for Kangaroo Island with presentations from industry leaders including Food SA, SA Wine Industry Association, Livestock SA and the South Australian Tourism Commission.  Darryl Gobbett, Visiting Fellow from the SA Centre for Economic Studies provided a snapshot of international, national and state economic issues drilling down to KI’s economic profile and opportunities covering population growth, employment projections, housing prices, health and ageing.  Each of the developers also gave an update on progress with their projects.

The event provided valuable information for businesses looking to grow and was delivered as part of the Kangaroo Island Council’s Business Development Project, with funding from the Australian Government’s BBRF and support from the Office of the Commissioner for Kangaroo Island.

Kangaroo Island Future Directions Function''

Housing Expo

On Thursday 15 November, OCKI held a housing expo as part of its work on housing opportunities on Kangaroo Island. The expo was designed to provide prospective home builders with access to information and to showcase innovative ways for building affordable homes. Exhibitors included lending institutions, housing developers, and essential services providers. Nearly 100 people attended the event. This initiative was designed by the Local Advisory Board for Housing, formed under the Act, which concluded its term in September 2018.

Kangaroo Island Future Directions Forum Convention

SA Water long-term plan for Kangaroo Island Water Supply

We have been advised that SA Water has nearly finalised the long-term plan for the Island’s water supply. SA Water undertook significant consultation in developing the plan, which looks at:

  • The current and projected drinking water demand and supply;
  • The state of water resources from which the drinking water supply is drawn; and

Other factors in delivering a sustainable supply such as water quality, safety, whole-of-life cost, environment, heritage and social.

SA Water consultation


Business Development Project

The Business Development Project, which is being delivered by the Kangaroo Island Council in partnership with OCKI and funding from the Australian Government’s BBRF, has continued to deliver results. The Project includes three streams: local events, strategic planning and collaboration, and leadership and capability.

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.

Leadership development program photo

Another key project has supported KI industry bodies to determine whether there are benefits from amalgamating and combining resources to support their members.  At the end of the round of AGMs this year resolutions were adopted to further explore an amalgamation of Tourism KI and the KI Food and Wine Association.  Business KI and the KI Industry and Brand Alliance members also resolved to continue discussions regarding the possible amalgamation of these two organisations.  There is still a lot more work to undertake and as required under the constitutions of these associations and the Associations Incorporation Act, the members of these individual associations will determine any final decisions to amalgamate.

A new round of funding has been announced for the Building Better Regions Fund and OCKI worked with the Kangaroo Island Industry and Brand Alliance, who in association with other KI industry bodies, has submitted a new funding application to continue business growth programs for KI in 2019.

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.

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.

Hospitality and Tourism Training

As part of the BBRF a project was conducted to assess the workforce needs of the new developments and to identify the current needs of the KI workforce.  In addition, a project was conducted to ascertain the issues that current employers are facing and their readiness to provide facilities, if possible, for utilisation in training programs in the tourism and hospitality area. Many of the Island’s key hospitality and tourism employers have expressed support for future training opportunities. OCKI will be working with Tourism KI and interested stakeholders to conduct a forum in early 2019 and form a Committee to guide the development of training modules and associated workforce issues.  More information on this matter in the new year.

a picture of a flower and a bee

Local Advisory Boards

Native Vegetation Management

Following the work of the Local Advisory Board for Native Vegetation Management, that held its final meeting in October 2017, OCKI has been working with stakeholders and Board members to finalise a Community Information Paper on Native Vegetation Management on KI.

This paper has now been published and is available on our website. It sets out the key matters discussed by the Board and information regarding the application of native vegetation legislation, regulations and policies.

An additional piece of work was undertaken to look specifically at the Significant Environmental Benefit Policy and its application to agricultural land. A case study was completed in partnership with Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA) and the Department for Environment and Water (DEW). An options paper has been published, prepared by the SA Centre for Economic Studies, that shows options for applying the SEB policy on agricultural land.

Economic Growth
The Local Advisory Board for Economic Growth held its final meeting on 4 September 2018. The Board addressed a number of issues impacting on the Island’s growth, including sustainable growth, telecommunications, essential services, and workforce development.

The Board provided advice on the drafting of  a new document Future Directions: Investment and Economic Growth for Kangaroo Island: which sets out the future opportunities for growth on KI. This document will update and reshape the Kangaroo Island Economic Development Outlook that was published in 2016 to include priorities for government, council, industry associations, developers and other stakeholders.

The Local Advisory Board for Housing held its final meeting on 25 September 2018. The Board provided advice to the Commissioner on the implementation of the Management Plan for Housing on Kangaroo Island. Working with the Board OCKI has undertaken significant research and engagement to understand the key actions that could improve the Island’s housing affordability and availability.

As part of the management plan, OCKI also seeks to address the services associated to housing infrastructure – particularly human services. An initial meeting was held with service providers who are active on the Island to address current service delivery challenges and look at ways to improve long-term planning for population growth. OCKI will work with the Kangaroo Island Health Advisory Committee to identify ways to improve information on available services and facilitate collaboration.

Following research looking at KI’s rental housing market, Hudson Howell have developed a tool to assist property owners to assess the return on investment for renting their properties as either a residential or tourism home. This tool is now available on the Council’s website.


American River Resort  
Phase 1, of the American River Resort is slated to commence construction in early 2019. It will comprise a 4 star+ hotel comprising 100 rooms and suites together with restaurant and spa facilities.

American River Resort is being developed in two phases by City and Central Consulting Pty Ltd on 100 acres overlooking the American River. This $50 million investment will also include a staff village and a 5 star luxury hotel and villas, which will be completed following Phase 1.

The Cliffs Golf Course
Construction of water infrastructure for The Cliffs Golf Course is expected to commence in 2019.  The Cliffs Development Group have Major Development Planning Approval for an 18-hole championship golf course, a clubhouse (including dining, function and conference facilities), 180 bed hotel and  a number of residential holiday accommodation land parcels.

This project will be delivered over a number of stages with the first consisting of around 40 luxury hotel villas, a championship golf course, club house and villas, which are expected to open to the public by the start of 2021.

The Dauncey
A process is underway to select an operator for The Dauncey hotel development proposed to be built on Dauncey Street, Kingscote. Five International Hotel operators have already been selected, and have lodged their submission. Submissions will be assessed once the investor / owner has been secured for which expressions of interest are currently being sought by The Savills Group.

A permit for construction has been granted to the Amadio Group for the development of a 116 high-quality room hotel. The project is expected to attract $30-35 million in investment and will boost Kingscote’s luxury tourist accommodation. The hotel will include a restaurant, state-of-the-art function spaces, lobby facilities, and a gymnasium.

Smith Bay deep-water wharf
An independent environmental impact statement (EIS) is being finalised for the proposed Smith Bay wharf.  Adequacy checks are required before the formal public consultation process begins, which is expected to commence in early 2019. Consultation will be announced by the state government in The Advertiser and The Islander.

The deep-water wharf and associated infrastructure is proposed for Smith Bay and will be a multi-user facility, capable of diverse cargoes.

More than 230 jobs are expected to be created by the forestry industry (160 direct and 74 indirect), with a further 22 jobs in the nine-month construction phase.

Mistere Spa and Retreat 
Development approval is being sought for farm stay accommodation and an integrated five-star tourist development in Nepean Bay.

The development includes conversion of the existing dwellings to tourist accommodation with additional facilities to include:

  • self-contained villas;
  • airstream caravans;
  • eco-stay tents;
  • eco-capsules;
  • a café with function area;
  • car parking;
  • solar panels;
  • tennis courts.

Prospect Hill Stairs
This $1 million project will be managed by the Kangaroo Island Council. Three tiers of government funding has been secured through the Australian Government’s Building Better Regions Fund ($750,000), state government’s Open Spaces Program ($125,000) and a contribution from the Council ($125,000). This project will start in early 2019.

More than 18 full time jobs (both direct and indirect) will result from this project.

Emu Bay Housing Development and Holiday Village
The new boat launching facilities are underway and expected to be completed by the end of December 2018 for the Emu Bay Housing Development. Roads, landscaping and power connections have been completed for this development that would ultimately contain 78 allotments with a minimum area of 1500 metres2 each. A mix of residential and holiday homes is envisaged for this development.

a plane flys through the sky with a setting sun in the distance


Mobo Group's cafe opening
Congratulations to all those involved in opening the new café at the Kangaroo Island Airport. The café is being run by Mobo Group as a social enterprise employing and training people who are living with a disability. 

Mobo Group supports more than 200 people with disabilities in finding employment and engaging in employment-related support services across metropolitan and regional SA.

Natural Resources Kangaroo Island wins funding for KI projects
Natural Resources Kangaroo Island (NRKI) has won two bids for funding from the Australian Government through the Regional Land Partnerships Program.

The Future Proofing Agriculture on Kangaroo Island Project will be delivered in partnership with Agriculture KI and aims to increase the resilience of KI’s farms to the impacts of climate change, while also looking at ways to meet increasing demand for sustainable production.

The Narrow-leaved Mallee Restoration Project (NLM Project) will work with landholders to assist in protecting KI’s Narrow-leaved Mallee (Eucalyptus cneorifolia) through best-practice management strategies and improving the condition of existing patches of the Mallee. NRKI will also develop guidelines on pollarding and ecological burning as management strategies of Narrow-leaved Mallee, which will reduce the regulatory burden of those looking to maintain patches of this threatened species.

Year 12 students
We would like to offer our sincere congratulations to all students completing Year 12. We wish you the very best for your future endeavours.

KICE awarded the Regional School of the Year 2018
Kangaroo Island Community Education (KICE) was awarded the Regional School of the Year 2018 for the Australian Education Awards. KICE was selected as a finalist with 9 other schools across Australia for its innovative programs and student participation activities. Congratulations to Principal Maxine McSherry, KICE staff, students and families!

Kangaroo Island Airport wins awards
The Kangaroo Island Airport received several awards in November this year. At the Australian Airports Association conference, the Kangaroo Island Council was awarded the Small Regional Airport of the Year trophy while BMD Group received an award for Regional Corporate Project of the Year for its work on the airside elements of the project.

The KI Airport also received a separate award at the annual Australian Civic Trust awards picking up the Bob Such Award for Design for Social Benefit. Congratulations to CEO Andrew Boardman, the elected Council and all those involved in this successful project.

Kangaroo Island Wines featured on Qantas Flights
In February and March 2019, Qantas will be featuring a mixed six pack of KI wine through its online platform. The pack will include wines by The Stoke, Dudley and Islander Estate and will be the first national promotion of KI wines.

New disability friendly holiday apartments open in American River
Congratulations to Yvonne and Kevin from Sunrise on Falie, who have opened two new disability friendly self-contained holiday apartments in American River. For more information visit their website.

New Mayor and Councillors Elected
Congratulations to Mayor Michael Pengilly and the members elected to Council at the November local government elections.  We look forward to working with you on matters of mutual interest to support the community including businesses on Kangaroo Island.

Kangaroo Island Office
43 Dauncey Street
PO Box 9
Kingscote SA 5223
Phone: (08) 8553 4525

Adelaide Office
Roma Mitchell House
136 North Terrace
Adelaide SA 5000
Phone: (08) 7109 7106