Thursday, 16 August 2007
Sydney Harbour Federation Trust Amendment Bill 2007
That this bill be now read a second time.
The act, which commenced in 2001, gave effect to the Commonwealth government’s commitment to preserving the Sydney Harbour foreshore for future generations. The act provides for the management of former defence and other Commonwealth lands in the Sydney Harbour region, including the preparation and implementation of plans to maximise public access, clean up contamination and preserve the heritage and environmental values of these historic sites.
Since the act came into effect, the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust has gained significant experience in transforming and managing seven important historic sites. The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust has also received strong public support for its role.
The act currently provides for the repeal of the act within 10 years of its commencement, which would have been in September 2011. This bill will extend until 19 September 2033, the date by which the act is to be repealed, thereby also extending the life of the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust to that date.
The Australian government’s original intention was for the trust to be a transitional body to manage Commonwealth lands in and around Sydney Harbour and maximise public access until 2011 when suitable land would be transferred to New South Wales for inclusion in the national parks and reserve system.
The extension of the life of the trust supports a recent agreement between the Commonwealth and New South Wales to transfer crown land at North Head to the trust until 2032. This extension of the date by which the act is to be repealed will ensure that the trust is in existence when the North Head site is transferred back to New South Wales. Moreover, the extension of the trust until 19 September 2033 will enable the trust to continue its work of remediating and making available to the public all these magnificent former Commonwealth sites for another 26 years.
I commend the bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr Griffin) adjourned.