Media release

Rocket launch facility will destroy threatened bird habitat

Thursday, 18 January 2024

  • Estimated reading time 2min

Rocket launch facility will destroy threatened bird habitat

A proposed rocket launch facility on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula will destroy the habitat of threatened species, according to two leading bird conservation organisations, BirdLife Australia and Birds SA.

Both groups are urging the Minister for the Environment, Tanya Plibersek, to reject Southern Launch’s proposed rocket launch facility at Whalers Way on the Eyre Peninsula, as the proposed facility would have a significant impact on the survival of two of Australia’s most threatened birds — the Mallee Whipbird and Eyre Peninsula Southern Emu-wren.

Both BirdLife Australia and Birds SA say that the importance of protecting the habitats of these rare birds cannot be overemphasised. If given approval by the Minister and built as planned, the facility would destroy the critical bush habitat that these birds need to survive, conflicting directly with the Federal Government’s own conservation goals.

“We urge Minister Plibersek to reject this inappropriate project and apply national nature laws in the way they were meant to be used — protecting nature and conserving threatened species,” said Naomi Indigo, BirdLife Australia’s Mallee Conservation Action Plan Coordinator.

“There are plenty of open spaces across Australia that would be better suited for Southern Launch’s facility,” she said, “but the Eyre Peninsula Southern Emu-wrens have nowhere else to live.”

“We must protect the places they live if we want to give them a chance to survive and thrive.”

Dr Ray Nias, from Birds SA, is urging bird and nature lovers to be the voice for nature.

“The public has until 2 February to send a clear message to the Minister that the destruction of our most special natural areas is unacceptable,” he said.

“We should make it clear that Southern Launch needs to find a new location for their facility — one that will not endanger threatened birds.”

Southern Launch has released information about its proposed launch facility and its environmental impacts, with the public given until 2 February to review it and provide comments. The Minister for the Environment will make a decision later this year.

For media inquiries, please contact: Andrew Hunter, Campaigns Manager, BirdLife Australia:  0449 935 184 or Ray Nias, Chair, Conservation Sub-Committee, Birds SA:  0414 917 297