New conservation park creation to save Aldinga Washpool for future generations

NEW PARK: The Aldinga Washpool has now been combined with the adjacent Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park to create South Australia's newest conservation park.
NEW PARK: The Aldinga Washpool has now been combined with the adjacent Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park to create South Australia's newest conservation park.

A new 340-hectare park will become a coastal environmental, recreational and cultural haven, with the official proclamation of the Aldinga Conservation Park.

The Aldinga Washpool has now been combined with the adjacent Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park to create South Australia's newest conservation park.

Premier Steven Marshall said the proclamation was a significant milestone for the local community.

"By combining the Aldinga Washpool land with the nearby Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park it's created a fantastic new ecological and cultural haven just south of Adelaide," he said.

Mr Marshall explained that the washpool site is of considerable spiritual and cultural significance to the Kaurna people.

The local community has long advocated for better protection of the site, and with the creation of the state's newest conservation park, the area is set to be enjoyed by future generations.

Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said that an Aldinga Washpool Working Group was established in 2018.

"We have been working closely with this group to ensure the land's environmental and cultural values are protected and restored," he said.

"For years, the future of the Aldinga Washpool was under threat so it's incredibly pleasing for the local community to be able to see this important site saved for future generations."

Mr Speirs said the announcement further adds to the State Government's record expansion of area protected in South Australia.

The expansion has seen an increase the number of national parks across the state and an increase in the area protected - approximately 3.90 million hectares to just over 7.9 million hectares.

"The record expansion is backed up by the biggest ever government investment in parks to boost conservation and improve our standing as a world-class eco-tourism destination," Mr Speirs said.

The Aldinga Washpool includes valuable habitat for at least 79 native species, including three bird species of national conservation significance.

It is also home to swamp plants of conservation significance including threatened coastal saltmarsh.

Prior to European settlement, the washpool was an important place for curing and drying possum skins by the Kaurna people.

It is also a significant site as part of the Tjilbruke Dreaming Trail and contains registered sites under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988 (SA).

The land being added to the state reserves system in this proclamation includes a combination of land previously transferred from SA Water, the Coast Protection Board and the City of Onkaparinga.