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Tuesday, 26 October 1971
Page: 2483

Mr BURY (WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES) - My question is addressed to the Minister for the Navy. Is it true that the Royal Australian Navy has been taking soil from excavations at South Head and dumping it over the cliff into Sydney Harbour? If this is so, will it despoil the environment? Is it true that complaints have been received from fishermen that this action would be a serious hazard to fish life in the vicinity?

Dr MACKAY (EVANS, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - It is not true that the Navy is dumping in Sydney Harbour anything of the nature that the honourable member has mentioned. Excavations to place the tactical trainer on South Head below the skyline in order to present as little interruption as possible to the vista of Sydney Harbour are being undertaken by the Department of Works and the contractor for the Department has decided on a method-

Mr Uren - Why do you not move it elsewhere? It does not need to be there at all.

Dr MACKAY - Am I allowed to answer the question? The contractor has decided that the best method of getting rid of the spoil from this area is by taking it to the outer side of South Head - not into the Harbour at all - and to a deep water spot to be shot over the cliff in a way which will eventually cause no kind of hazard and in no way spoil the view of this part of the coast. The alternative was to trundle this material through the suburbs for a distance of some 26 miles, involving approximately 180 return trips a day which would cost up to $60,000 extra. This procedure would be a nuisance to the residents in that environment and it would cause dust and deterioration of the roadway. I can assure the honourable member that I have been to visit the site and there has been nothing of the kind that has been publicised in the Sydney evening Press relating to despoiling the waters of Sydney Harbour. There is some topsoil which is causing some discolouration outside Sydney Harbour, but it certainly would be nothing like the discolouration caused by the topsoil coming down the Parramatta River in a normal flood season. The topsoil causing this discolouration would cause nothing compared to the pollution caused by nightsoil around that area. This is the beginning of the operation, and when it is completed a bulldozer will be lowered over the cliff, to clean up the area. The spoil will be put into deep water and there will be no residual adverse effects.

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