A combined almost $4 million of Federal and State Government funding will rejuvenate Wardang Island off the Yorke Peninsula and provide economic, recreational and cultural opportunities for the Indigenous population.
Wardang Island covers 20 square kilometres and lies 8 kilometres off Port Victoria on the western coast of the Yorke Peninsula.
Premier Steven Marshall today visited the region with the Federal Member for Grey, Rowan Ramsey, and the State Member for Narungga, Fraser Ellis, as the Federal Government announces funding of $2.66 million for asbestos removal on the Island.
With the support of a Federal Government grant, the Aboriginal Lands Trust has purchased a barge which will provide ongoing access to the Island, support for Indigenous Protected Area activities, train Aboriginal people for seafaring work and provide the opportunity for use of the barge for hire and lease for commercial use.
The South Australian Government is supporting the Island’s rejuvenation by providing $1.3 million for a new boat landing facility on the Island.
Premier Marshall said these initiatives have been developed in close consultation with local Aboriginal people and communities through the Aboriginal Lands Trust, the Point Pearce Aboriginal Corporation and the Narungga Nation Aboriginal Corporation.
“Substantial asbestos contamination exists on a dozen or more buildings on the Island,” Premier Marshall said.
“As well as guaranteeing the safety of visitors to the Island, the removal of the asbestos will open-up new economic, recreational and cultural opportunities for the local Aboriginal communities.
“Wardang Island also has at least 13 known shipwrecks in the area, eight of which form the Wardang Island Heritage Trail.
“This presents a tourist opportunity for shipwreck divers, which is one of the reasons the State Government is investing in a new boat landing facility.”
Mr Ramsey said the Federal Government had declared Wardang Island an Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) in 2014 and removal of the asbestos was important for IPA Rangers working on the Island, as well as traditional owners and visitors.
“Revegetation programs are currently delivered on the Island by Greening Australia as a service provider to the Federal Government,” Mr Ramsey said.
“I welcome the collaboration between the Federal and South Australian governments and local Aboriginal communities to provide this new lease of life for Wardang Island.”