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

Press Conference
Wednesday, 3 September 2003

Subject: Launch of Visionary Plan to Revitalise Sydney Harbour Trust Landmark Sites

David Kemp: This is a great day for Sydney and for Australia. The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust has done a wonderful job in preparing this final plan. It will lead to the revitalisation of seven historic sites around the harbour. Those sites, many of them have actually been shut off to public access for quite a long time, they'll now be open to the general public, as they're restored, and people around Sydney will have the opportunity to gain views of the city that they've probably never seen and never suspected and they'll be able to visit some of the most historic heritage in Australia.

Question: A lot more land as well?

David Kemp: A lot more land. One of the great developments that will come out of this plan will be the development of the headland park on the Middle Head-St Georges Heights and around Chowder Bay. That park will link together a number of disparate islands of defence facilities and will allow people to move along a number of walking tracks that will be put in place. They will be able to gain from there a view across to Sydney that at present is unobtainable but the reconstruction and renovation of the site will make that view available so families will be able to go there for their picnics and visitors will come there to see some of the most important Aboriginal heritage around Sydney Harbour.

One of the ideas in place is to have an Aboriginal cultural centre there and that will be further explored with the community, with Aboriginal leaders, and there will be an opportunity for members of the local community to comment on the detailed precinct plan that will now be developed.

Question: And the transfer of these maritime areas, the boating [indistinct].

David Kemp: That's right. You can't go past the fact that these sites are on Sydney Harbour and the life of Sydney Harbour, in many ways, is a small boating community. These have been maritime sites. Woolwich Dock and Cockatoo Island have been very important and historic maritime sites in the past. They will now be made available to the boating community here and hopefully we'll see some small businesses established to provide services for those who enjoy their boating on Sydney Harbour.

Question: How many berths?

David Kemp: I don't think a decision has been made about that yet. Each of these sites is going to have a specific precinct plan developed. That will then be made available for public comment so before any final developments take place the users of the sites will have an opportunity to further comment.

Question: There has certainly been a lot of consultation for the last two years in the build-up [indistinct]. That's going to be ongoing?

David Kemp: It is going to be ongoing. The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust have made a point of giving the community the opportunity and really empowering the community to say what it wants to see happen around Sydney Harbour. There were over 3000 submissions in the preparation of this final plan and they've been taken on board. There's been an enormous community input. In fact, I would say that what we witnessed here is best practice in community consultation and one of the reasons why the Trust developments have so much support around Sydney, I believe, is because of the level of community consultation that there has been.

Question: If the 140 hectares had been sold, what sort of revenue would that have raised?

David Kemp: I don't know. It would obviously be a vast sum but the community and the Australian people have made it very clear that they want this land to remain in public ownership and they want it to be accessible to all the people of Sydney and that's what will be secured. The Prime Minister's initiation of the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust has, I believe, given an enormous treasure to the people of Sydney and Australia.

Good, thanks very much.


Commonwealth of Australia