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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

15 August 1999

LEGISLATION TO PROTECT SYDNEY HARBOUR LAND RELEASED


Federal Environment and Heritage Minister, Robert Hill, today released for public comment new legislation that will establish a Sydney Harbour Federation Trust to protect Commonwealth land around the harbour foreshores.

"The Trust is being established to manage the rehabilitation of several Defence sites around Sydney Harbour as they become surplus to Defence needs," Senator Hill said.

"The five sites - North Head. Middle Head, Georges Heights, Woolwich and Cockatoo Island - all contain conservation and heritage values of enormous importance to Sydney and the nation.

"The relocation of defence from these sites has provided the Commonwealth with a once in a lifetime opportunity to increase the area of publicly accessible land around Sydney Harbour.

"The Bill outlines the Trust's primary objective of conserving the environmental and heritage values of the sites while maximising public access to them.

"It also details the public consultation process which will involve extensive discussions with local communities and other interested groups about the options for future use of the sites."

Senator Hill said that, as part of the government's commitment to a consultative approach, the Bill was being released as an exposure draft for public comment before being introduced into the Parliament.

"The Bill will establish the Trust for a period of ten years. It will consist of a Chair and five Members, appointed by the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment and Heritage. The Government of New South Wales will be invited to nominate two of these Members," Senator Hill said.

"Public comment on the Bill closes on Friday 17 September 1999 and I hope that all interested parties will take the time to read and comment on it."

Copies of the draft Bill and the Explanatory Memorandum, which summarises the Bill, are available from the Community Information Unit at the Department of the Environment & Heritage, phone: 1800 803 772 (toll free). Or the Bill can be viewed at the website www.environment.gov.au/harbour

For further information on the draft Bill, please contact:
Rod Bruem (Senator Hill's office) 0411 128 582 or 02 6277 7640

Commonwealth of Australia