SA pushes legislation banning bikies from gang compound


The Hells Angels could be locked out of a stronghold near Adelaide in the latest twist to a long-running legal battle between the government and the outlaw bikie group.

The South Australian government will introduce laws allowing authorities to ban access to the Cowirra property, about 100km east of the city, after previous legislation blocking gang members from the compound was overturned.

Regulations imposed in 2020 designated the rural property, also known as Ponde, as a prescribed place, barring access by members of any outlawed group.

But earlier in August the High Court unanimously struck down the law.

The court said the owners of the bikie premises, a company called Disorganized Developments Ltd and its directors Peter Stacy and Stephen Taylor, were not given adequate opportunity to respond to the government's move.

The state's Attorney-General Kyam Maher said the government was dedicated to ridding SA of the "scourge of thugs and criminals that make up outlaw motorcycle gangs".

"We will do absolutely everything we can to make sure they don't get a foothold back here in SA, which is why we are taking decisive action," he told reporters on Tuesday.

"This is a pragmatic response to the situation and, if passed by parliament, will once and for all put this question beyond dispute."

The new legislation would once again schedule Ponde - as well as a location at Mount Gambier - as a prescribed place, meaning any outlaw bikies who set foot on the property will be liable for prosecution.

Mr Maher said the government had received legal advice that the bill was the best way to ban access to the property, as it is much harder to challenge legislation passed through parliament than an administrative decision.

Following the High Court ruling, the government wrote to the owners of the property to allow them to make submissions about the proposed regulations.

Mr Maher said the owners made no substantive submissions in the three weeks since, allowing him to go ahead with the legislation.

Lawyers for Mr Stacy and Mr Taylor said they had sought additional information from the minister before responding but had not received a reply.

"The attorney-general abandoned that process and instead announced that the government will seek to pass legislation in parliament, presumably to side-step the procedural fairness that the High Court held our clients were entitled to," a spokesperson for barrister Jon Lister said.

Ponde has long been a meeting place for Hells Angels members and previously hosted a popular music festival.

In 2019, police found a burnt-out car on the property that had been linked to a bashing murder.

At one stage the government tried to seize the land as a criminal asset but later dropped that bid.