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Media release
Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Flinders

5 March 2006

Public to be involved in future of HMAS Platypus


Hon Greg Hunt MP, Federal Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment has called for public submissions on the future use of former submarine base HMAS Platypus at Neutral Bay.

“The site has 13 buildings covering an area of 1.8 ha so there is great potential for community use.

“The principles for use are very clear.

“First, the Trust will fully rehabilitate and restore the site. This includes remediation of any pollution caused by the pre-existing gas works.

“It is expected that the project will cost the Federal Government between $30 - $40 million.

“Second, there will be no residential housing – the area will be for the public.

“Third, we are looking for community uses and public access consistent with the presentation of the site and its location near a residential community.

“Ideas suggested to date include a combination of art galleries, cafés, sports facilities, community theatre and a marine education centre all combined with parklands to make full use of the harbour and the buildings.

 “I would like to see families from not just Neutral Bay, but all over Sydney, feel comfortable to come to this new public centre and enjoy a day near the harbour.

“The site will remain in public hands and public access is critical.

In that context, proposals for an exclusive use marina would not be acceptable.

Mr Hunt, who has ministerial responsibility for Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, said the original Comprehensive Management Plan for all of the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust’s ex-defence sites was approved in September 2003.

The Department of Defence handed over HMAS Platypus in June 2005 - almost two years after the original management plan for Sydney Harbour Federation Trust was approved, Mr Hunt said.

“I am currently working with a locally appointed Community Advisory Committee headed by the Hon. Joe Hocky MP, Federal Member for North Sydney and the Board of the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust which will assess all of the public submissions at the closing date of March 31st.

“In the last six months the Trust has returned prime harbour front land to the people of Sydney at Camp Cove, Watson’s Bay and also opened a new park and artist’s precinct at what was a former army depot at Lower George’s Heights at Mosman.

“A former 1800’s naval base at Chowder Bay has been developed into the Sydney Harbour Institute of Marine Science.

“After the submissions have been reviewed our job will be to put in place a plan for public consultation and then to develop a wonderful community asset.

“The job of the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust from here is simple.

“Clean it up, rehabilitate it completely and open it to the public so it can join the seven other former defence sites around Sydney currently being given back to the people of Sydney for public use and access.

Deadline for submissions to the Comprehensive Plan for HMAS Platypus is close of business 31st March. Please go to www.harbourtrust.gov.au for further information.

Media enquiries:
Kristy McSweeney 0415 740 722 (Mr Hunt's office)
Peter Phelps 02 6277 7600 (Minister Nairn’s Office)

Commonwealth of Australia