An alliance of nature groups who have vigorously campaigned over the past three months against the location of police horse barracks on the Southern Park Lands at Mirnu Wirra (Park 21W) has expressed relief and delight at the decision to base the horses away from the Park Lands.
8 June 2023
Wonderful win for community as Parklands biodiversity hotspot saved
An alliance of nature groups who have vigorously campaigned over the past three months against the location of police horse barracks on the Southern Park Lands at Mirnu Wirra (Park 21W) has expressed relief and delight at the decision to base the horses away from the parklands.
At a press conference this morning featuring SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens, Lord Mayor Jane Lomax Smith, Police Minister Joe Szakacs, Member for Adelaide Lucy Hood and Conservation SA Chief Executive Craig Wilkins, the Premier announced the new horse barracks location near the airport, with a staging facility at the Courts precinct off Wright Street.
Mirnu Wirra in the southern Park Lands is one of Adelaide’s hidden nature treasures, overflowing with wildflowers, native grass meadows, birds and butterflies.
On 1 April, hundreds of concerned citizens, Traditional Owners and environment groups gathered to protest the destruction of this major biodiversity hotspot in Adelaide’s Park Lands. Then, last weekend to mark World Environment Day, hundreds gathered to create a symbolic ring of protection around Mirnu Wirra using umbrellas.
Conservation SA Chief Executive Craig Wilkins:
“We are delighted the Government and SAPOL have been prepared to listen and create a solution that doesn’t involve destroying precious biodiversity in the city.
“There is no doubt the original selection of Mirnu Wirra for the police horse barracks took us by surprise, but the community made their feelings clear, nature groups and parkland advocates stood up and explained why the decision was wrong, and the government was willing to listen and find an alternative. This is a great result we warmly welcome."
Trees for Life CEO Natasha Davis:
“Trees For Life is delighted with the news that Mirnu Wirra will be saved. There has been an incredible outpouring of support for our Park Lands over the past two months, particularly the imperative to save this area that is home to incredible biodiversity, including over 70 species of native plants — many very rare — as well as birds, butterflies and many other critters. Our Bush For Life site in Mirnu Wirra is cared for by passionate volunteers and this patch of local bushland is loved by many South Australians.
Thank you to everyone who attended the rallies, wrote emails or letters, and supported this campaign by showing your love for nature and our Park Lands. We couldn't have done this without you."
Adelaide Park Lands Association President, Shane Sody:
“The Adelaide Park Lands Association warmly congratulates the State Government for listening to the community and acting to protect your Adelaide Park Lands from this proposed threat. We now look forward to assisting the State Government in progressing a campaign for World Heritage listing of Adelaide's unique treasure."
Butterfly Conservation SA President, Gerry Butler:
“This is a real win for the rare butterflies, birds, native grasses and spectacular native flowers who call the southern park lands home, and for the many South Australian groups and individuals who stood up for parkland protection. Butterfly Conservation SA are thrilled this important butterfly habitat is now safe."
Nature Conservation Society SA CEO, Kirsty Bevan:
“Over the last four months the community has clearly demonstrated how much they love having access to nature so close to the city, and the Government, to its credit, has worked hard on finding alternative options. One positive thing that has come out of this is that there are now so many more people who are aware and can better appreciate the incredible nature treasures in our city’s back yard. That can only be good news for future biodiversity protection and restoration."
Our groups would like to acknowledge the tireless and passionate advocacy of thousands of South Australians who worked with us to highlight what was at stake.
It is heartening that the Premier Peter Malinauskas and the Grant Commissioner Grant Stevens have been prepared to explore better options. We also recognise the great leadership from the Lord Mayor Jane Lomax-Smith and other Adelaide and Unley City Councillors. Huge credit, too, to the willingness of the police minister Joe Sczakacs and Member for Adelaide Lucy Hood to come to Mirnu Wirra to hear firsthand from experts about why this place is so special and then push for change, and the strong advocacy inside and outside Parliament from the Liberal party and the Greens.