Protect our Wilderness Rally held in Port Lincoln

SAVE WHALERS WAY: Protesters walked through the town's centre and ended at Whalers Way. Photo: Supplied
SAVE WHALERS WAY: Protesters walked through the town's centre and ended at Whalers Way. Photo: Supplied

A rally hosted by the Eyre Peninsula Environmental Protection Alliance (EPEPA) saw a procession of protesters walk through Port Lincoln on Sunday, ending at the Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex.

The rally was formed to showcase the impact authorised rocket launches at Whalers Way would have on local ecology, with the suffering of flora and fauna predicted to bleed into the tourism and economic industry.

It comes after Southern Launch was granted approval for three test launches by the end of 2021.

After multiple failed attempts last month, the company abandoned its campaign to launch the Taiwanese TiSPACE Hapith I rocket.

A variety of speakers gave a talk at the rally, including professionals and First Nations people who showed uniformed condemnation of the destruction of Whalers Way.

Key speakers presented their knowledge and environmental concerns for bushfire risk, water, pollution, local animal species, wind data as well as the tourism and economic impacts, which was well received by attendees.

The community were welcomed on country by Vera Richards, a First Nations woman of Barngarla country, and Evelyn Richards First Nations woman of Barngarla-Nauo who performed a smoking ceremony of cleansing for attendees.

COMMUNITY UPROAR: Vera Richards spoke about the sacred land surrounding the launch pad. Photo: Supplied

COMMUNITY UPROAR: Vera Richards spoke about the sacred land surrounding the launch pad. Photo: Supplied

Organisers EPEPA, a community of locals with the vision to "Protect Our Wilderness", said it was important to maintain the heritage agreement made almost 40 years ago to protect and conserve endangered species and habitat of the area.

"To allow this development with an industrial level of traffic, noise and pollution to destroy this area is a step in the wrong direction," a group spokesperson said.

"Thousands of jobs and the whole Eyre Peninsula rely on our pristine coastline and clean green image."

Species like the rare square-tailed kite along and the endangered southern emu wren has its largest colony in South Australia in the same location of the launch site.

Southern Launch chief executive officer Lloyd Damp said the company was "proud" of the ongoing community support for its project as local businesses had "come out in strong support for our first rocket launch campaign".

"The community is in overwhelming support of our project, and we understand there is a minority of people who were rallying [Sunday]," he said.

"We continue to encourage the Port Lincoln community to continue reaching out to Southern Launch to clarify any misinformation they may hear from unofficial sources."

SAVE WHALERS WAY: Australian surfer and environmental activist Heath Joske giving his talk. Photo: Supplied

SAVE WHALERS WAY: Australian surfer and environmental activist Heath Joske giving his talk. Photo: Supplied

The rally began at the Port Lincoln foreshore where participants walked to the Port Lincoln town centre and the Anglican Hall, and concluded at Whalers Way.

A highlight came from Australian surfer and 'Fight for the Bight' ambassador Heath Joske who spoke of how governments and big businesses see Eyre Peninsula as easy pickings due to its remote location and small population, but emphasised the powerful and strongly-connected Port Lincoln community.

Photos were displayed of the launch site after a failed launch and fire.

A second CFS appliance was brought in to extinguish the fire as native vegetation surrounding the launch pad and up to 50 metres away from the launch pad was on fire.

Mr Damp said Southern Launch was working with the Australian Space Agency regarding its next proposed 2021 launch campaigns.

For more information, head to southernlaunch.space.