Environment SA News

New Mid North national park a step closer

A plan to convert an environmentally significant 1000-hectare site near Burra into a national park has reached a significant milestone after the signing of an agreement to transfer ownership of the land to the state government.

New Mid North national park a step closer

Renewable energy company Neoen has transferred the Worlds End Gorge site to the State Government free of charge as part of the process for gaining a Significant Environmental Benefit (SEB) offset for its nearby Goyder Wind Farm Stage 1 project.

The innovative approach paves the way for the ecologically significant site to be permanently preserved for the public to enjoy at the Worlds End Gorge.

Worlds End Gorge contains several large, permanent waterholes – a rarity in the area. Burra Creek runs the length of the scenic gorge, which is fed by underground springs.

There are several important plant and animal species on the land, which has been well cared for by its previous owners.

It is adjacent to the existing council-run Burra Creek Campground and will be combined with the neighbouring Hopkins Creek Conservation Park to form a new national park, totalling about 1,600ha in size.

The state government will now work with Neoen and the local community on a detailed masterplan for the site.

This will include the formation of a Community Reference Group with representatives from Neoen, Ngadjuri Nation as Traditional Owners, Country Fire Service, local volunteers, and the Regional Council of Goyder.

The group will be involved in an initial master planning process to help design the national park, its visitor access, and how it will be managed.

The Ngadjuri people will also have the opportunity to co-name the park in recognition of its significance to their culture and history.

National Parks and Wildlife Service National Parks Programs Director Jason Irving said the land transfer marked an exciting opportunity to protect an important biodiversity and cultural asset and create new opportunities for locals and visitors to experience a beautiful natural area.

"We will continue to work with Neoen and the local community towards creating a national park which will be a unique and valuable biodiversity asset for the Mid North," he said.

Neoen Australia chief executive officer Louis de Sambucy said Neoen was proud support the creation of the new national park on Ngadjuri country at Worlds End Gorge with funding from its Goyder South project and in close partnership with the South Australian Government.

"The Gorge is a rare and beautiful place and we are thrilled that it will be protected and enjoyed by the local community, Traditional Owners and future generations of Australians," he said.

The agreement commits Neoen to paying an annual sum to the Government over the next 30 years for conservation activities.

More information will be released as the community reference group is formed and the park begins to take shape.