YUMBAH Aquaculture has released a critical evaluation of Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers' response document for its proposed port at Smith Bay.
Professor Chad Hewitt, a director at the Biosecurity and One Health Research Centre at Murdoch University, authored the 41-page evaluation, together with Professor Paul McShane and Dr Jacquelle Gorski.
Their critical evaluation of KIPT's response document specifically focuses on the final revisions to the EIS risk assessment and the company's response to stakeholder submissions.
"As with previous submissions, we have addressed not only the issues pertaining to Yumbah, but to the wider Smith Bay and KI environments," Prof Hewitt wrote in his cover letter.
"We have found persistent and substantive issues with their response pertaining to flaws in their risk assessment, and erroneous and unsubstantiated opinions presented as fact dismissing scientifically valid concerns raised by stakeholders, including Yumbah.
"We note that despite earlier submissions identifying the procedural errors in the risk assessment, KIPT have not rectified the matter.
"The consequence of this continued application is to significantly downplay the residual risks providing a false sense of security that the KIPT management responses adequately reduce the risks to acceptable levels.
"This approach violates the precautionary approach highlighted as an objective of the Environment Protection Act 1993. Even if we accept KIPT's assessment of mitigated Likelihoods the Residual Risks remain unacceptable with all biosecurity-related hazards remaining High.
"We note serious threats still exist both to the environmental values of Smith Bay and Yumbah's aquaculture operation."
RELATED READING: Yumbah Aquaculture, KI council react to KIPT Smith Bay port response
Meanwhile, KIPT meanwhile has welcomed the appointment of Deputy Premier Vickie Chapman as the new Minister for Planning and David Basham as the Minister for Primary Industries.
The $40m port's EIS now sits with Ms Chapman, who hails from a local farming family.
"Both Ms Chapman and Mr Basham are very familiar with KI and with the issues facing the Island community and economy," KIPT managing director Keith Lamb said.
"The 2019-20 bushfires have created an urgency regarding export of the damaged plantation timber.
"We have been through a thorough assessment process, we are shovel-ready to build this transformative infrastructure and we're ready to work with the new ministers to achieve that."
KIPT also recently received its biggest insurance progress payment to-date, taking its compensation for the summer bushfires to more than $55 million.
According to The Lead, the company is claiming its $65m tree crop insurance policy in full following the December and January fires that damaged 95 per cent of its crop.
In a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange on July 25, KIPT announced it had received the latest progress payment of $19.6m following three previous payments of $10m earlier in the year.
Last month, it also reported it had agreed to a $5.9m payout to cover the replacement of fire-damaged houses and sheds under its building insurance, which is separate to its $65m tree crop cover.
KIPT has used some of the funds to pay off its Commonwealth Bank loans in full and has said it intends to use the remainder "to fund future operations of the company".
The company now faces a massive salvage operation to monetise the fire-affected timber, as it continues argue for a deep-sea port on the island's North Coast, which it has been planning for almost four years.
It says it can salvage 4.5 million tonnes of fire-affected timber, but only if it can be done relatively quickly.
KIPT's share price has more than halved since the fires started on December 20, with its shares closing at $2.35.
The KI fires burnt through 210,000ha - almost half of the island - across a 612km perimeter before being declared contained on January 21.
The story Proposed KI port cops criticism over flaws in risk assessment first appeared on The Islander.