Doorstop – Sydney
Topics: Returning Malabar Headland to the people of New South Wales
I am delighted to be here with Mark Speakman, the New South Wales Environment and Heritage Minister.
We said that we would transfer the coastal portion of Malabar Headland – and to be here with Bruce Notley-Smith, the State Member, with Michael Feneley, the candidate from the last election for Kingsford Smith and Donna who is representing the disabled riders and the community.
We said that we would transfer the coastal section of Malabar Headland and today I can announce that it has been done.
Malabar Headland has been transferred – that beautiful point out there now belongs, rightly as it should, to the people of New South Wales.
We are also about to open – and Department of Finance officials are here to walk the land with Donna – the process for cleaning up and returning the horses through a tender to the central section.
And there is $5 million of Commonwealth funding, $3 million of which is to making safe the rifle range and long-term options for the shooters.
And they have a long-term future, unless and until there is an agreed alternative site found, so we are going to clean up and make that site fully safe and fully user-friendly and we are going to return the horses as we have always said.
$3 million for the Rifle Range, $2 million for the disabled riders.
They should never have been evicted, never have been evicted.
No, you should be absolutely supportive of this change and now they are being returned and Donna is helping to design that process with the officials.
And I am delighted to have the full support of the Department of Finance on that front.
So, the Malabar Headland has been returned, here are the maps, it’s yours.
Thank you Greg, good morning everybody. This is a wonderful win for the Eastern Suburbs community, indeed the whole of Sydney and it is a great win for nature conservation.
We have now more than quadrupled the size of the Malabar Headland National Park from 17 to 87 hectares.
We’re preserving Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub, an endangered ecological community.
We’re looking after a rich aboriginal cultural heritage here and also preserving World War II heritage.
As I said, it’s a great win for the Eastern Suburbs community and the broader Sydney community.
I thank the local State Member, Bruce Notley-Smith, for his fierce advocacy in achieving this outcome, Michael Feneley, the Liberal candidate for Kingsford Smith at the last election, for his fierce advocacy too, all the community groups that have played an important role and of course Minister Hunt and the generousity of the Commonwealth Government in ensuring that this important part of Sydney is preserved for the public in perpetuity.
We look forward to working with Randwick City Council over the coming year or so in extending the Eastern Suburbs coastal walk through the western part of the headland.
I look forward to improving some safety and other aspects to the eastern part in the coming months.
So this will be a national park that the entire community can enjoy.
Over to you. Any questions?
So, just how hard has it been to get to this point?
Actually, it has been challenging. There have been some logistical and bureaucratic issues.
And frankly we took them on and we won.
There were those, as was reported about a year ago, who had wanted to try to hive off and sell some of the land.
That wasn’t an official government position but when we got hold of it we killed it stone dead.
So this is a great public headland. And I have an area in my own electorate called Point Nepean and there were some people who knew the cost of things but not the value of things.
And we took them on and we defeated them.
Greg Hunt, can I ask you about Clive Palmer. Do you think he could have done more to save jobs at Queensland Nickel?
Look, I will let others comment on the details but our task is very clear – it is to create the environment where jobs can be created.
So the private sector creates jobs but a good government can help create the environment and what that means is reducing barriers to employment, creating opportunities for innovation, making our cities work – and I’ll be speaking on that later today.
In terms of Queensland Nickel, those closer to it can comment on it.
But we all have a deep duty to do everything in our power to keep people employed and to make sure that businesses are operated properly and appropriately.
Is there anything the government can do to help workers?
Look, I will leave that to the relevant ministers.
But let me say this – right now, removing barriers to employment is the best protection of employment that we have around the country.
Removing, as the Trade Union Royal Commission found, the environment which allows people to engage in improper conduct at the union level, where they can influence the employment prospects for firms is an absolute national priority.
I’d ask you also about the Liberal Party pre-selection, which opened in New South Wales today. Some in your party say this is a chance for change.
With that in mind, should Phillip Ruddock not nominate and leave an opportunity for someone else there?
Look, I’m just a humble Victorian in New South Wales and so I won’t comment on New South Wales pre-selections other than to make two points.
Obviously I support all of our existing members.
Two, we’ve got a magnificent candidate from the last election in Michael Feneley with whom Bruce Notley-Smith worked to return this headland.
And Michael, if I can possibly encourage you to run, then I will.
What are your thoughts on Phillip Ruddock though?
Look, I have immense respect for Mr Ruddock and all of our sitting members and I fully support them.
Bronwyn Bishop, should she nominate again, given what happened?
I support all of our sitting members, I really do.
At a luncheon later today you are going to set out some new goals for increased tree cover in urban environments.
Could you spell out what those goals are over the next few decades?
Sure. So we’ve established a National Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub as part of the National Environmental Science Programme.
That Hub will work with each of our major cities to establish decade-by-decade urban canopy or urban green cover goals.
Our target, our task, is to establish those goals and then to increase them progressively over each of the decades out to 2050.
New South Wales is doing a great job and we see the Nursery and Garden Association, which is taking the lead.
But essentially we want to set goals for 2020, 2030, 2040 and 2050 that are appropriate to each of the major cities. So they all start from a different place.
But to set those and then to pursue them and to have them on a bipartisan basis.
What is the timeframe for establishing those goals?
We’d like to have them done within the next 18 months, by the end of 2017.
It would be good to do it early but I’ll say the end of 2017, if not a little bit earlier.
That allows us then to make progress to 2020 and we are already doing that through the 20 Million Trees Programme, the Green Army Programme and the National Landcare Programme.
But then to really set out for increased urban green canopy coverage, more trees, better cities cleaner air by 2030, 2040, 2050 – so just to keep going as we head toward the middle of the century.
Greg Hunt, just back to pre-selection, I know you don’t want to talk about specifics but just broadly speaking, would you say that this is an opportunity for generational change as you head towards the federal election?
I’d say that this is a matter for the pre-selectors of New South Wales.
Mark, when do you hope or what kind of timeframe is there to pull the fences down and see people walking on and using this Headland, this eastern part?
The Headland will be gazetted as a national park in February, that’s our aim.
And then we are looking at about three months of minor work around the eastern part of the Headland, reporting trip hazards and so on.
So we are looking at about probably May, or June, for public access.
But that will still be subject to a regime similar to what is occurring at the moment with public safety…
With the rifle…so how does that work now, will there be days when the range is closed and the park is closed?
Typically Saturdays, there might be the odd, ad hoc day where the eastern part of the national park is closed as well.
But the current safety procedures are in place to notify the public…
Mark, can I ask about Liverpool West, there is fresh evidence today that the asbestos issue has re-emerged there, have you been briefed on that or will you be seeking a briefing.
MARK SPEAKMAN: I’ll be seeking a briefing.
I might just ask Bruce if he wanted to say something.
Thanks Greg, as a former Mayor of Rankin and now a State MP, there is not one person in South East Sydney who hasn’t waited years, indeed decades for this to happen.
So I just want to thank both Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt and Mark Speakman for pursuing this and pursuing it with such enthusiasm and vigour to make sure that this day became a reality.
For decades we have heard about Malabar Headland and what’s going to happen, speculation – is it going to be built on, is it ever going to be returned to the people of New South Wales?
This is a fantastic day.
And whose responsibility is it now if you are going to start doing some remediation on the central section – is it your intention to do the rest of the central section?
Sure. So remediation of the central section is a Commonwealth responsibility.
And what we’re doing is commencing stage one of that remediation, and that’s both in terms of upgrading and improving the condition and safety of the rifle range and then secondly rehabilitating and remediating the area for the horses.
So that is stage one, and then there’s a broader, long-term plan.
The ideal is that that central section is ultimately returned to New South Wales.
Two out of three sections, which are the most important environmental sections, including the [inaudible] Headland, have now been returned.
And the end message out of all of this is that houses out, horses in and the land is back to New South Wales.
So if there were any bureaucrats that had any doubt, bad luck.
Alright, thank you very much.