- Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers’ (KPT) Smith Bay $40 million port plan has been rejected by the South Australian Planning Minister, Vickie Chapman
- Ms Chapman believes the long-term impacts of the port pose too much of a risk for Kangaroo Island
- On this news, KPT has adopted a new agricultural strategy to remove tree crop and convert its land for more traditional agricultural use
- Also today, KPT announced its Managing Director, Keith Lamb, will retire
- On the market, KPT is up 2.37 per cent, trading at $1.08 per share at 2:15 pm AEST
Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers’ (KPT) application for the Kangaroo Island Seaport has been declined by the South Australian Government.
State Planning Minister Vickie Chapman rejected the development plans to build a $40 million port at Smith Bay.
Last year, KPT lost 95 per cent of its crops due to the 2019/2020 Australian bushfires, which burnt 210,000 hectares, almost half of the island. Since then, the company has been in a race to save the timber and ship it off before it rots.
The timber has been considered a possible solution to the state’s timber shortage that could stymie the house building boom.
The proposed port was expected to move about 12 shipments of plantation timber.
However the plans have been declined due to the potential long-term damage to the island
Ms Chapman said the decision was a difficult one that had “not been made lightly.”
“The Assessment Report was line-ball, however, I have come to the conclusion that the possible long-term and irreparable damage the wharf could cause to the Island is a risk I am not willing to take,” she said.
“Key factors included the impact on surrounding businesses, the marine environment, as well as biosecurity risks to neighbouring tourism and aquaculture businesses.”
There was also concerns about the number of trucks on the island that would “affect the character of the popular tourist destination.”
“I am aware my decision will have an impact on the local timber industry and I can assure South Australians that I will continue to search for a sustainable solution for this industry on Kangaroo Island,” Ms Chapman said.
New agricultural strategy
While the port fell through, KPT has adopted a new agricultural strategy to remove tree crop and convert its land for more traditional agricultural use.
The revised strategy will require less money and will revert its high rainfall land to a productive agricultural estate over a shorter period of time.
Chairman Paul McKenzie said today marked “a major turning point for KPT.”
“By undertaking this lower risk and well-trodden strategy, we will in turn develop our land into an institutional grade, conventional agricultural estate. The company’s vast, high rainfall landholding is unique and is expected to command a premium valuation in due course.”
Additionally, KPT hired Jones Lang LaSalle Advisory Services to conduct a valuation of its land, which it valued at $51.4 million.
Managing Director retires
Also today, KPT announced its Managing Director, Keith Lamb, would retire.
Mr Lamb joined the team in October 2018 and became Managing Director in June 2019.
He led the team through the devastating fires and has since then guided the company to a recovery program.
“Although we are reluctant to see Keith depart the Company, we are pleased he has agreed to provide for a smooth transition and continuity into the future,” Mr McKenzie said.
Notably, the Managing Director position will not be replaced.
James Davies will be the new Executive Chairman and Mr McKenzie will remain as a Non-Executive Director.
On the market, KPT was up 1.90 per cent, trading at $1.08 per share at 1:04 pm AEST.