Lee expresses concern at the development application on Commonwealth heritage land at Sydney Harbour's Middle Head and calls on the Minister for the Environment not to approve it. Her motion was defeated on the combined vote of Labor and the Coalition.
Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (16:14): I move:
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) a controversial development application on Commonwealth heritage land at Sydney Harbour's Middle Head is currently being assessed by the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust,
(ii) Middle Head is the land of the Ku-Ring-Gai people and provides habitat for a wide range of native species,
(iii) the development application is unanimously opposed by the National Trust NSW and Mosman Council,
(iv) the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust has two more development sites in the Headland Park which are being marketed by NSW Trade and Investment in China,
(v) under federal heritage laws the proposed development in the Headland Park requires the approval of the Minister for the Environment, Mr Hunt, under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, and
(vi) the proposed development is in a bushfire prone area; and
(b) calls on:
(i) the Minister for the Environment and the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust to not approve the proposed development application and to not accept any new or amended application for development on the Ten Terminal site,
(ii) the Government to properly fund the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust so that it can fulfil its duties under the Act to preserve, conserve and interpret the heritage values of all Sydney Harbour Trust lands, and
(iii) the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust to fully consult with the public and the local community on:
(A) the most suitable way to welcome people to Headland Park, and how to re-use a suitable site for a visitors centre to interpret the natural and cultural values of the site, and
(B) alternative uses for Ten Terminal which interpret the heritage values of Middle Head.
Senator BIRMINGHAM (South Australia—Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment) (16:15): I seek leave to make a short statement.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.
Senator BIRMINGHAM: The government will be opposing this motion. Even by the usual standards of the Australian Greens this is an excessive and extreme anti-development motion. The motion describes a 'controversial development'. For the benefit of the chamber, that controversial development is a proposal to use some disused former Defence buildings as a potential aged care facility. This is obviously a potentially valuable piece of public infrastructure for the local community. The motion is also erroneous in terms of calling for the government to properly fund the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust. The trust was established as a self-funding entity. It leases buildings out and, in return, reinvests those funds in providing enhanced public access. I assure the local community in this area that the government will make sure there is no net loss of public space from this development, that it does improve local amenity in the community and that we will undertake full and proper consultation in this consideration.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: The question is that the motion moved by Senator Rhiannon be agreed to.