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Channel Widening Project Approved

29 May 2018

Approval for the widening of the Outer Harbour Shipping Channel has been granted by the Hon Stephan Knoll MP, Minister for Planning, following a rigorous development assessment process. The approval follows careful consideration of public representation, stakeholder feedback and state agency expert advice.

The Port of Adelaide plays a significant role in South Australia’s economic prosperity. It is the state’s principal location for the import and export of goods.

The Port has experienced a significant increase in the number of visiting trade ships. Globally the trend is for larger vessels. This is the same for visiting cruise liners, with a general trend towards broader ships seeking to visit South Australian waters.

The very real risk is that the containerised trade and cruise ships will “skip” Adelaide. This would create a significant negative impact upon the South Australian economy through increased transport costs and the lost opportunity of fewer cruise ship visitations.

The Channel Widening Project is responding to this scenario and is critical to the economic prosperity of the state, on the basis that it:

  • Ensures that South Australia’s importers and exporters are able to access a range of international container shipping services which connect them to and from markets around the globe from the Port of Adelaide – providing them the option to avoid costs (and associated environmental impacts) of using interstate ports.
  • Increases the attractiveness and competitiveness of the Port of Adelaide to shipping lines, positioning the State to attract new shipping services in the future.
  • Increases competitiveness of the container shipping market, by consolidating Adelaide’s position versus interstate ports.
  • Allows access for larger vessels at the Port of Adelaide, providing South Australian traders the cost benefits of using these vessels on the Australian trades.

The project includes the dredging of some 1.55 million m3 of material along seven kilometres of channel, and the placement of the dredged materials within a designated site approximately 30 km off the coast in the Gulf of St Vincent.

The application was independently assessed by the State Commission Assessment Panel (SCAP). The application was publically notified and was referred to the Port Adelaide Enfield Council and relevant State agencies, including the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and Department of Environment and Water (DEW). Read the Report provided to SCAP, along with its recommendation to the Minister.

Following an earlier recommendation to approve this project further information was sought from the Environment Protection Authority. This advice confirmed that the impacts of the dredging works would be successfully mitigated through conditions of approval provided to Flinders Ports. Go to the EPA web site for copies of the reports, further information and frequently asked questions.

The risk of the spread of Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS) from the dredge works has been identified following an earlier outbreak in the Port River.   

An additional condition has been included compelling Flinders Ports, prior to the commencement of any works, to incorporate measures within its Dredge Management Plan that minimise the risk of POMS spreading, to the satisfaction of PIRSA Biosecurity SA and SARDI Aquatic Sciences. The approval of the overall Dredge Management Plan resides with the Environment Protection Authority.

For further details, view the Decision Notification Form approving the development.

Chronology of Events:

DA Lodgement

12 July 2017

Consultation Period

22 November to 13 December 2017

Portside Messenger & Advertiser

SCAP Report

18 January 2018

SCAP Minutes

18 January 2018

Request for further information from Minister to Environment Protection Authority

Early February 2018

Caretaker Period

February-March 2018

EPA Advice to Minister

May 2018


28 May 2018

Page last modified Wednesday, 18 July 2018