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Joint Media Release
The Hon Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Flinders
The Hon Joe Hockey MP
Minister for Human Services
Member for North Sydney

20 September 2006

Platypus Unlocked

HMAS Platypus in Neutral Bay will open to the public on select Sundays from now until November.

Member for North Sydney, Joe Hockey, said the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust would run a series of special activities designed to showcase this once hidden away site to the public and encourage input into planning its future.

"A program of tours, open days and exhibitions will allow people a chance to explore this unique harbourside industrial site," Mr Hockey said.

"This is the first time the public has been able to see HMAS Platypus since the Australian Government handed the site back to the people in July last year."

The activities include:

Guided tours
Sundays: 24 September, 29 October & 26 November
Tours will run in the morning and afternoon - $5 adult, $3 concession.
To book, phone 8969 2131 during business hours.

Student exhibition
Sundays: 15, 22 & 29 October
An exhibition of ideas for the future of HMAS Platypus by Landscape Architecture students from the University of NSW. On the opening day (15 October) the rest of the site will be open to explore, with food and drink available.

Sunday at Platypus
26 November
A free community afternoon of music, food and drink by the harbour from 2-7pm.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Greg Hunt, congratulated Mr Hockey on this initiative.

"Opening HMAS Platypus to the public now will help the Harbour Trust in preparing its plan for the future of the site," Mr Hunt said.

"It is important that this site is managed in a way that reflects its significance to the community and its place on Sydney Harbour.

"This series of open days and activities will test public access issues and collect important community feedback."

The site was first developed as the North Shore Gas Company in 1876 and it supplied gas to the northern suburbs for close to 100 years. During World War II, the Navy used the waterfront area to service torpedoes. HMAS Platypus was officially commissioned as a submarine base in 1967.

In 1999 HMAS Platypus and the torpedo workshops closed down when the Commonwealth decided to relocate its submarine base to Western Australia. The site was transferred to the Harbour Trust in July 2005.

Mr Hockey said the Harbour Trust hopes to place its Draft Comprehensive Plan for HMAS Platypus on public exhibition from December 2006.

Media Contact:
John Deller (Mr Hunt's office) 0400 496 596
Trent Zimmerman (Mr Hockey's office) 0419 690 617

Commonwealth of Australia