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Tuesday, 27 February 2001
Page: 24524

Mrs BRONWYN BISHOP (Minister for Aged Care) (5:55 PM) —I want to add a few comments in this debate on the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust Bill 2000, because much of the land is land with which I am very familiar, and with which I have been familiar prior to becoming the member for Mackellar. The interests of my constituents are vital and I consider this trust to be vital also. We regard the lands around the harbour in our part of the world as being like lungs for the peninsula on which Mackellar is situate. So it is an important and good outcome for us.

Prior to becoming the member for Mackellar, I lived in Mosman, quite close to some of the land that is going to be subject to the trust. I recall a previous occasion where it was the intention of the previous Labor government to sell the parcel of pristine land that was adjacent to HMAS Penguin, which was quite vigorously fought by the community, including me. On that occasion, I was quite proud to take the podium together with Tom Uren—we were as one—with Barry O'Keefe and many others. We were successful in preventing that sale. What is so successful about this outcome is that, despite the criticisms of the trust by the opposition, they too have moved a long way from their desire to simply sell off pristine Defence lands to a situation where we are seeing our trust put into place.

I would also like to say something about our defence forces, who have been the custodians of that land for a long time. Anyone who cares to visit Middle Headfor instance, Georges Heights—will see that the land that has been looked after by the Army and the Navy is in quite dramatically better condition than that which has been looked after by the state parks and wildlife service. I vividly remember that, last time I visited there, there was a great big wire fence that prevented people from getting to the land that had passed over to New South Wales. The only part of the area that was really well kept was the little lawn that surrounded one of the 1870s cottages where some of the departmental people had chosen to live.

The outcome with the establishment of the trust is the best way forward. It really does mean that these lands will be protected. It does mean that they cannot be subject to the whim of the government of the day, whatever flavour the government might be. It means that we have found a permanent solution. I know that the councils represented on SHOROC—Mosman, Manly, Warringah and Pittwater—are all people who have been vital in their support for the cause that these lands must be properly cared for.

Question resolved in the affirmative.