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Wednesday, 21 June 2000
Page: 15375


Senator BROWN (5:28 PM) —With the anticipated passage of this amendment, this legislation is so much better. I hear the pique of the minister in not having total authority in this place, and I can commiserate with him because I very rarely find myself in the position where I agree with an excellent upgrading of legislation to protect the environment. Time after time, with forests, with greenhouse and global warming, with pollution and with the need for a whole range of good environmental laws in this country, I endure having this minister fall short or indeed go in the opposite direction. I do not have the numbers, so I know what that is like. But here is an occasion where the tables are turned. I understand the minister's pique, and I also hear what he is saying. He is representing the Prime Minister's view on the outcome for Sydney Harbour.

Let me say at the outset that the government is to be congratulated for moving in the direction of creating this great Sydney national park—and what great timing it is in the Olympic year. But why not make the vision that little bit better? This is going to be a central point of Sydney, one of the great cities of the world, forever and a day for all future generations. Why leave in the bills the potential for selling off bits of it for short-term gain? Why not tie down the representation to make sure that all the people of Sydney are represented as best we can represent them through this trust and that we do not represent potentially the people who might have only a glancing view of the environmental amenity that this is for the four million people of Sydney. I congratulate the opposition and the Democrats for the amendments that they have brought forward. They have turned it into an excellent piece of legislation. I hope they will stand firm on the amendments that have been made, because this national park is going to be a phenomenal asset without parallel in the world. There is nothing better in the world as far as a central metropolitan national park is concerned.

Finally, I want to congratulate the community groups who have been involved in the long battle to get this outcome. They deserve to see the whole thing translated into the Sydney Harbour National Park, which they have dreamed of for a long time. It is very appropriate that Tom Uren is here today watching the process in this chamber that has led to this good outcome. There are many others who cannot be here, but they are all to be congratulated. This is a vision splendid for Sydney. I hope the opposition and the Democrats stick to these amendments because the amendments fulfil that vision to the utmost, 100 per cent. Why should Sydney have anything less?

Amendments agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Bill reported with amendments; report adopted.