The prestigious award was announced as part of the South Australian Environment Awards, which are presented annually by the State’s peak environmental organisation.
The Jill Hudson Award recognises South Australians who have made outstanding contributions to environmental protection over the past 12 months. It was presented by Mr Ian Hunter, State Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation.
Associate Professor Kaempf was cited for his research and his role in campaigning against major development plans for South Australia’s waters, including large ports in the Upper Spencer Gulf, desalination discharges, open-pit mining on the Yorke Peninsula, and oil drilling in the eastern Great Australian Bight.
Associate Professor Kaempf said he hoped his work was helping to raise awareness among South Australians about the uniqueness and the fragility of their coastal waters, and especially of the gulfs.
“South Australia has a truly distinctive environment that needs very careful treatment,” he said.
“If you destroy marine key species in there, there’s no way they’re going to recover easily.”
Associate Professor Kaempf said he considered sharing his specialised knowledge of physical oceanography and providing independent opinion as part of a serious obligation to engage with the community and to observe scientific principles.
He said proper environmental assessment requires a serious discussion based on transparency and an evidence-based approach.
“I feel I have a duty to educate the public, to educate politicians and to share my knowledge.”