Wednesday, August 7, 2002. Posted: 06:38:23 (AEDT)
Kangaroo Island residents unhappy about ferry agreement
Ferry operator Sealink has defended an agreement with the South Australian Government that effectively gives it a monopoly over the Cape Jervis port and sea access to Kangaroo Island for 25 years.
It comes as a group of Islanders threatens to blockade Cape Jervis, claming the agreement is not competitive.
The Islanders say the agreement prevents any consortium setting up a rival ferry service by giving Sealink exclusive access to the Cape Jervis port an hour either side of a scheduled docking.
However, Sealink chief executive Jeff Ellison says that access was a key part of the deal with the former Liberal government that saw the company agree to invest $9 million in the ferry service.
In return, he says Sealink has certain freight obligations and must operate all year round.
Mr Ellison says a rival company is welcome to set up its own ferry service, but will need to build its port somewhere other than Cape Jervis.