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Sydney Harbour Federation Trust Bill 2000 [2001]

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1998-1999-2000

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE

COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

SENATE

 

 

 

SYDNEY HARBOUR FEDERATION TRUST BILL 1999 [2000]

 

 

 

SUPPLEMENTARY EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

Amendments and New Clauses to be Moved on Behalf of the Government

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by Authority of the Minister for the Environment and Heritage

Senator the Hon Robert Murray Hill)

 



 

SYDNEY HARBOUR FEDERATION TRUST BILL 1999

 

OUTLINE

 

The purpose of these amendments is to address some concerns expressed by the community on the exposure draft of the Bill and in the report on the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust bill of the Senate Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Legislation Committee.

 

A preamble has been inserted to clarify the Commonwealth’s intentions in establishing the Trust.

 

A restriction has been introduced to ensure that, where significant environmental and heritage values are identified in the management plan, Trust land cannot be disposed of, other than to the Commonwealth, New South Wales or relevant councils (local government).

 

The Bill allows 18 months for the Trust to develop management plans and the Trust is restricted to operating within the confines of the management plans.  New provisions are included to enable to Trust to use and undertake limited activities, such as site maintenance, short-term leasing/licensing and public health and safety works, on Trust land prior to the approval of a management plan.  The Trust must not, however, allow or undertake any activity that could cause significant damage or be prejudicial to future management decisions determined under the management planning process.

 

A number of other minor changes are introduced to provide greater clarity or more appropriate public input.  These include broader requirements for public notices about management plans and meeting practices.  Changes have also been made to the provisions for Community Advisory Committees specifying that they must include representatives of the local community and local government, and specifying when they should advise the Trust.  Several changes are included with respect to the content of management plans and to ensure that the plans accord with ecologically sustainable development principles.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT

 

There is no financial impact arising from these amendments.

 



 

SYDNEY HARBOUR FEDERATION TRUST BILL 1999

 

NOTES ON AMENDMENTS

 

Item 1

1                     This amendment inserts a Preamble to explain in broad terms the reasons and purpose in establishing the Trust.

 

Item 2 (amends Clause 3)

2          As these amendments clarify and increase the involvement of local government bodies, this amendment provides a definition of what is meant by “relevant council”.

 

Item 3 (amends Clause 6)

3          The word ‘interpret’ has been included to emphasise the importance of this activity, even though the word ‘conserve’ encompasses a range of activities that would normally include interpretation.

 

Item 4 (amends Clause 6)

4          This is a consequential amendment to standardise on the use of the term “relevant councils” instead of “local government bodies”.

 

Item 5 (amends Clause 7)

5          Although conservation would usually be considered to be one of the elements of management in the context of the Trust’s objects and functions, this amendment provides additional clarity about what the community is to be consulted on.

 

Item 6 (amends Clause 7)

6          This amendment enables the Trust to undertake certain activities on Trust land, subject to the limitations imposed by new Clause 38A in item 26, prior to the development and approval of a management plan.

 

Item 7 (amends Clause 7)

7          This addition to Clause 7 of the Bill is to emphasise the importance of promoting appreciation of the environmental and heritage values.

 

Item 8 (amends Clause 8)

8                     This is a consequential amendment to standardise on the use of the term “relevant councils” instead of “local government bodies”.

 

Item 9 (amends Clause 8)

9                     This amendment clarifies that the Trust may enter into agreements, not only with the State Government of New South Wales, but also with relevant councils.

 

Item 10 (amends Clause 9)

10                 This amendment requires that, where the Minister gives written directions to the Trust, in accordance with subclause 9(1) of the Bill, the Minister must also give written reasons for the directions.

 

Item 11 (amends Clause 24)

11        This amendment places an additional restriction on the transfer of the freehold interest in Trust land.  A decision by the Trust to dispose of Trust land would need to be identified in the management plan for the area in question.  If the management plan identified the Trust land as having significant environmental and heritage values, then the Minister could not agree to the transfer, other than to the Commonwealth, the State or a relevant council.  In other words, such land cannot be sold, or otherwise permanently transferred, by the Trust out of public ownership.

 

Item 12 (amends Clause 28)

12        Management plans must not only accord with the objects of the Trust, but with ecologically sustainable development principles.

 

Item 13 (amends Clause 28)

13                 This amendment clarifies that, in providing a history and description of the management plan area in the management plan, the current uses of the area must be identified.

 

Item 14 (amends Clause 28)

14        The word “values” has been substituted for “significance” for the sake of consistency throughout the Bill.  The meaning of the words is the same in this context.

 

Item 15 (amends Clause 28)

15        This amendment adds the requirement that a management plan must include an assessment of the inter-relationship between the plan area and surrounding areas, including other Trust sites.  Its purpose is to ensure that management plans are not developed in isolation but in the context of the surrounding region, taking into account all possible impacts and influences.

 

Item 16 (amends Clause 28)

16                 This amendment adds the requirement that a management plan must identify the nature of possible future owners of the area or parts of it.  It is not intended that this should define or constrain any future transfer arrangements for the land.  Nevertheless there should, at the outset, be a clear idea of what is intended for the land and which body or bodies might be appropriate to carry on the management of the land in future years, bearing in mind that the Trust is only a transitional body.

 

Item 17 (amends Clause 28)

17        This amendment adds a further requirement that a management plan must include, not only guidelines on the implementation of the plan, but also options, if necessary, and recommendations.

 

Item 18 (amends Clause 28)

18        This amendment adds the requirement that a management plan must include detailed estimates of costs.

 

Item 19 (amends Clause 29)

19        This amendment broadens the requirement that a proposal to prepare a draft management plan is notified publicly, not only in the Gazette and a local newspaper, but also in a newspaper circulating in the Sydney metropolitan region.  Although a local newspaper could be one that circulates throughout the metropolitan region, this amendment provides greater clarity and recognises the legitimate interest in Trust land of all Sydneysiders, not just those in the immediate vicinity of the management plan area.

 

Item 20 (amends Clause 29)

20        This amendment deletes the original subclause (4) relating to public notice of a proposal to prepare a draft management plan.  It is replaced by Item 19 above, and placed in a more logical position within Clause 29 of the Bill.

 

Item 21 (amends Clause 30)

21        This amendment places identical provisions for public notice about a draft management plan consistent with those in Item 19 above for a proposal to prepare a draft management plan.

 

Item 22 (amends Clause 30)

22        This amendment deletes the original subclause (4) relating to public notice about a draft management plan.  It is replaced by Item 21 above, and placed in a more logical position within Clause 30 of the Bill.

 

Item 23 (amends Clause 31)

23                 When the Trust submits a management plan to the Minister for approval, it is required by Clause 31 of the Bill to provide a written report on its community consultations.  This amendment means that the Trust must also include in its report details of any consultations with community advisory committees and technical advisory committees.



 

Item 24 (amends Clause 36)

24        This amendment ensures that, where the Trust is preparing an amendment to a management plan, it is required to comply with the full range of consultative provisions that apply in the development of a management plan. 

 

Item 25 (amends Clause 36)

25        If the Trust is preparing an amendment to a management plan which involves a change to the management plan area, the Minister must first of all approve the change to the area.

 

Item 26 (inserts new Clause 38A)

26        This amendment inserts a new Clause 38A relating to activities that the Trust may undertake on Trust land before a management plan has been approved for that land.  The management plan is the essential instrument that determines how Trust land will be managed and what activities are permitted on the land.  The Bill, as currently drafted, restricts the Trust’s activities in respect of Trust land to operating in accordance with the management plans.  Clause 26 of the Bill allows 18 months (or longer with the Minister’s approval) for the development of management plans.  During this time, there are some legitimate activities that the Trust must be able to perform.  Broadly, these activities are performing essential maintenance and security, granting short-term leases and licences, and undertaking works to ensure public health and safety.  In doing any of these limited activities, the Trust is required to ensure that such activities do not cause significant damage and are not prejudicial to future management decisions determined under the management planning process.

 

Item 27 (inserts new Clause 38B)

27        This amendment is consequential on the amendments introduced by Item 26 above and relates to leases and licences granted by the Trust before a management plan takes effect for an area.  The effect of this amendment is to ensure that leases and licences have only short-term validity and, most importantly, do not continue for more than a few months after a management plan takes effect for the area.

 

Item 28 (inserts new Clause 50A)

28                 The Trust is required to keep minutes of its meetings to ensure a greater level of accountability.

 

Items 29, 30, 31 and 32 (amend Clauses 51, 54 and 55)

29                 These amendments relate to notice of meetings of the Trust, the recording of voting in the minutes of meetings, and the conduct of meetings.  The amendments are self-explanatory and are designed to tighten procedures and improve accountability.

 

Item 33 (amends Clause 57)

30        The purpose of this amendment is to clarify that advice or recommendations of committees must only be made after considering the broader context of the Sydney Harbour region, the objects of the Trust and other provisions of the Act.  In other words, to ensure that the committees keep their advice and recommendations relevant and appropriate.

 

Item 34 (amends Clause 57)

31        This amendment ensures that community advisory committees include representatives of the local community and local government, as well as any other person appointed by the Trust.  The term of office of any member of these committees shall not exceed three years.

 

Items 35, 36 and 37 (amend Clause 58)

32        These amendments allow for more than one technical advisory committee to be established, if required, and include financial arrangements among the functions of a technical advisory committee.

 

Item 38 (amends Clause 64)

33        This is a consequential amendment to Clause 38B of the Bill (refer to Item 27 above) which introduces the concept of a licence, as well as a lease.

 

Item 39 (amends Clause 70)

34        The Trust has annual reporting requirements under the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 as well as under Clause 70 of the Bill.  The provisions in the Bill require that the text of any Ministerial directions is reported and this amendment adds that the reasons for the directions must be included.  This is consequential on Item 10 above.

 

Item 40 (amends Clause 71)

35        This amendment is to standardise on the use of the word “council” rather than “local government bodies”.  There is no change in meaning.

 

Item 41 (amends Clause 73)

36        This amendment is consequential on other amendments above and clarifies the potential role of relevant councils as well as State Government.