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Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP

14 May 2002

$10.5 Million to Return Harbour Lands to Public

The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust will prepare historic foreshore lands for return to the public with $10.5 million in the 2002-03 Budget.

The Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, said the funding would ensure the Harbour Trust could care for the former defence and other historic Commonwealth sites and complete a draft comprehensive plan for their future use by the end of this year.

"There is considerable research, assessment and survey work that needs to be carried out in preparing the plan, and allocation of funds enables this to occur," Dr Kemp said.

Over the next 12 months the Harbour Trust will carry out urgent repairs, maintenance and environmental management to prevent further deterioration of the sites and buildings.

Significant funds will be directed towards opening them up to the public and carrying out community consultation activities.

"Some of these places have been hidden away for over 100 years due to their special military and other uses," Dr Kemp said.

"We want people to be able to visit them so that they can appreciate their value and help contribute to planning.

"First though, we need to make these historic sites secure, safe and accessible."

The Harbour Trust has held a range of events, open days, exhibitions, guided tours, planning workshops, speaking engagements and other activities to encourage the community to visit the lands and to become involved in the planning process.

Additional activities planned for this year include the development of new guided tours, a national conference on the future of North Head, the extension of the volunteers program and increased collaboration with other Sydney Harbour bodies to promote the harbour and foreshore.

Members of the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust Board include nominees from the NSW Government, one member representing the interests of indigenous people and one member from a council area containing a Trust site. The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust Act was proclaimed in September 2001.

The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust lands are the former School of Artillery on North Head, former Defence lands at Middle Head-Georges Heights in Mosman, the former Army Maritime School at Chowder Bay, Woolwich Dock and Parklands, Cockatoo Island and the former Marine Biological Station at Watson's Bay. Ownership of Snapper Island and Macquarie Lightstation at Vaucluse will be transferred from the Department of Finance and Administration to Environment Australia in 2002-03 and will subsequently be vested in the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust.

Media contact:
Catherine Job (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400

Commonwealth of Australia