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Bruce Baird moves to protect modern Australia's birthplace.
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MEDIA RELEASE The Hon Bruce » « Baird » MP Federal Member for Cook

BL 21 September 2004

STRICTLY EMBARGOED UNTIL 6AM THURSDAY 23 SEPTMBER 2004

« Bruce » « Baird » Moves to Protect ModernAustralia’s Birth Place

The Federal Member for Cook, the Hon « Bruce » « Baird » MP, today announced that the Australian Government has moved to protect the Kurnell Peninsula through an emergency listing on the National Heritage List. This announcement follows an application from Mr « Baird » to give emergency protection to the site, pursuant to s 324 F of the Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, and follows on from « Bruce » ’s nomination for the Peninsula’s protection in May of this year.

“Kurnell is a unique area in Australia and boasts a wealth of Indigenous, historic and natural values”.

“I have long campaigned for the need to protect and conserve the Kurnell Peninsula from inappropriate development and I am pleased that my request for emergency protection to allow the area to be formally assessed has been approved” Mr « Baird » said.

Protection for the Peninsula has been granted under section 324 F of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. This will halt the expansion of sandmining and potentially damaging uses, while the area’s unique values are assesed.

The Emergency Listing under s 324 F of the Act will not stop the current operations of the sandmining companies, but will stop them from expanding their current area of operations any further.

“This emergency protection is the first step toward preserving the unique cultural and environmental values of the Kurnell Peninsula.”

“Most Australians would know of Kurnell, being the place where Captain Cook and the crew of the Endeavour landed on 29 April 1770.”

“This landing lead to the establishment of of a British colony eighteen years later when the First Fleet arrived, under the command of Arthur Philip.”

“It is an area that has a collection of memorials which commemorate the historic events associated with Cooks landing, one of which was erected as early as 1822 and the Cook Obelisk dates from 1870”.

“Kurnell is an area of unparralleled signficance to all Australians. It is also particularly important to Indigenous Australians from around the nation as the site of the momentous meeting of Indigenous and European cultures”.

“The area has a range of Indigenous sites which tell the story of Indigenous life before the arrival of Europeans. Among these sites there are middens, carvings, important

ceremonial sites and stone tools. Many of these sites have been protected by the Kurnell sand dune”.

“Importantly, the area hosts a ceremonial site that was central to Clans from as far away as Camden in Sydney’s South West, and Nowra on the South Coast. The areas surrounding the sand mines are also believed to contain many burial sites”.

“I have moved to protect this area to ensure that these sites may be properly assesed by the Australian Heritage Council, without risk that these irreplaceable artefacts and sites of importance are not inadvertantly damaged by inappropriate activities on the Peninsula”.

“I am proud that I have been able to act to protect the outstanding heritage values of Kurnell, which are part of our distinctive Australian history”.

Mr Mervyn Ryan, a representative of the Elders of the Gweagal People continued to say;

“I want to thank both « Bruce » « Baird » and Australian Department of Environment & Heritage for their outstanding work on behalf of my people, Shire residents and all Australians.

“Across Australia, all Indigenous cultures have a connection with Kurnell. It is the place of first contact with the European cultures. It was the site of our first resistance and an indelible part of our collective Indigenous historical story.

“This decision shows that the Government is committed to preserving Australia’s natural and cultural history and is prepared to make decisions to benefit all Australians.”

Encl:- 1. « Bruce » « Baird » & Traditional Owner Merv Ryan discuss the implications of the Emergency Listing 2. « Bruce » « Baird » at Press Conference in the sand hills at Wanda

Media Contact:-

Mr « Baird ’s Office:- Brendan Lyon 0409 718 382