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

13 May 2003

$115.5 Million to Restore Sydney Harbour Lands

In its 2003-04 Budget, the Commonwealth Government has announced $115.5 million over eight years for the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust to rehabilitate and restore to the public seven historic foreshore lands.

"Sydney Harbour is the gateway to Australia and an icon of our nation," Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp said. "The Harbour Trust lands are the 'jewels in the crown'.

"They represent everything that defines the harbour at Sydney's heart - natural bushland, headlands and sandy coves, and a record of our nation's Aboriginal, maritime, defence and industrial heritage."

Commonwealth Government funding will see the creation of foreshore parks and new venues for recreation and cultural events to maximise public access and enjoyment of the lands. A revival of maritime industry on the waterfront is planned together with the restoration of historic buildings and facilities for educational, community and commercial uses.

"For example, docks and workshops at Cockatoo Island will be offered for lease to boatbuilders, sailmakers and chandlers," Dr Kemp said. "This will bring new life to Sydney Harbour and make these wonderful sites into living museums instead of empty ones."

Dr Kemp said the people of Australia will gain nearly 140 hectares of prime harbour foreshore land through the rehabilitation of the Harbour Trust sites.

"During the Olympics we saw the global economic value of Sydney's natural environment.

"Restoration of the Harbour Trust lands and their integration back into the cultural life of the city of Sydney will have social and economic benefits that will flow on for many generations to come."

Major projects for the coming year include establishing parklands at Middle Head-Georges Heights in Mosman, creating a maritime village at Woolwich Dock and progressing plans for a sanctuary on North Head. On Cockatoo Island, the funding will enable power to be restored to the island and essential remediation and decontamination works to be carried out on the island's historic convict and industrial precincts.

Numerous historic buildings will be conserved, including those associated with the 1890s Submarine Miners' Depot at Chowder Bay, the former Marine Biological Station at Camp Cove, historic defence fortifications and the convict penitentiary on Cockatoo Island.

In addition to the funding provided by the Commonwealth the Harbour Trust will generate revenue from the leasing of buildings and facilities, in a manner consistent with their heritage values, and the sale of houses in Markham Close, Mosman.

The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust lands are the former School of Artillery on North Head, former Defence lands at Middle Head-Georges Heights-Chowder Bay in Mosman, Woolwich Dock and Parklands, Cockatoo and Snapper Islands, Macquarie Lightstation and the former Marine Biological Station at Watsons Bay.

Catherine Job (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400

Commonwealth of Australia