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Wednesday, 21 June 2000
Page: 15366

Senator BROWN (4:41 PM) —I understand that Senator Hill is anxious to get this amendment up because, on the face of it, it gives the trust the ability to manage the lands on the Sydney Harbour foreshore before a management plan comes into place, which will be about 18 months down the line. I understand his difficulty with the opposition's potential to say no to that, because then there would be somewhat of a limbo state as far as the trust's ability to manage the lands is concerned. What we need to know here is whether within that 18 months the trust itself is constrained so that it cannot do anything which would be invidious to the ultimate establishment of the Sydney Harbour National Park. I would be interested to hear what the opposition says to this requirement which the government is putting forward here, that the trust have the ability to manage the lands in that early phase before the management plans are in place after public consultation and everybody can see what is happening. Obviously there has to be a management regime, a custodial management regime at least.

On the face of it, the minister's reference to the government amendment to add proposed section 38B means that leases and licences granted cannot be more than 12 months and must expire within 18 months after the vesting of the land in the trust. Those leases and licences themselves would have to contain a requirement that no significant damage be done to the properties, and that would include the natural environment. I am always worried by terms such as `significant damage'. I will not put hypotheticals to the minister because we would be here till kingdom come if we were to cover all exigencies. I guess the minister is requiring that the trust has the commonsense to read up, if you like, the term `significant damage' to make sure it really does mean that no real damage occurs to these properties by licensees and leaseholders.

Senator Hill —That is another set of words—`real damage' instead of `significant damage'.

Senator BROWN —Yes. But you are charging the trust in the meantime to understand what this chamber means if it passes this amendment, that it be very careful indeed with this property and it will be in a whole heap of trouble if there is the sort of damage that is going to create public alarm and outcry before the management plan comes into place.