Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority Bill
|About this Item||Speakers||Knowles Mr Craig
||Business||Bill, First Reading, Second Reading
SYDNEY HARBOUR FORESHORE AUTHORITY BILL
Bill introduced and read a first time.
Mr KNOWLES (Moorebank - Minister for Urban Affairs and Planning, and Minister for Housing) [1.25 a.m.]: I move:
Sydney needs a more holistic approach to foreshore planning and land management, putting an end to growing public concern about the multiplicity of authorities responsible for planning and management decisions in and around the harbour. The Government has already taken action on planning reform and now it proposes to implement land management initiatives that will benefit both Australians and visitors to our shores. As a result of planning changes earlier this year, the Government now has planning control of all city of Sydney foreshore land, stretching from Garden Island in the east to Blackwattle Bay in the west - but excluding the Botanic Gardens - and of 38 key sites around the harbour and along the Parramatta River that the Government deems to be of major strategic importance.
State environmental planning policy No. 56, Sydney Harbour Foreshores and Tributaries, which was approved by Cabinet on 17 March, forms the foundation of the Government’s changes to the planning and management of Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River. The key principles guiding the new SEPP include increasing public access to, and use of, land along the foreshores of Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River; improving public access links between existing foreshore open space areas; maintaining a working-harbour character and functions by retaining key waterfront industrial sites and maritime activities, where possible; protecting the significant natural and cultural heritage values, including marine ecological values; and increasing opportunities for water-based public transport.
Mr Debnam: On a point of order. I cannot hear the Minister.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I ask honourable members to reduce the level of conversation.
Mr KNOWLES: The implementation of this policy gives the community a clear sense that there is consistent control of planning for key harbour foreshore sites and that any future development must be in line with our Government’s vision for the area. The Government, to complement this new SEPP, will now establish a single foreshore land management authority. For some years there has been discussion and preliminary planning for a new State Government organisation that would assume responsibility for the management of inner Sydney Harbour foreshores - a role that is currently undertaken by up to 30 government agencies and local councils.
The object of this bill is to constitute the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority and to specify its functions. The new authority will exercise the
functions currently undertaken by the Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority, the City West Development Corporation and, later, the Darling Harbour Authority, in a defined foreshore area that extends generally from Camerons Cove at Balmain to Elizabeth Bay at Potts Point. The existing authorities are to be dissolved. The Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority will manage foreshore lands between Garden Island and White Bay, including Circular Quay, Walsh Bay, wharves 9 and 10 at Darling Harbour and Blackwattle Bay, and all the lands currently controlled by the Sydney Cove Authority and within the city west growth centre, notably Pyrmont, Ultimo and the bays area west of Pyrmont.
Together, the areas of responsibility of these two organisations covers approximately 323 hectares of land and waterways within five kilometres of the city centre. A single board will be appointed for the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority and, as a first step, the boards of city west and Sydney Cove now have the same members. The board arrangements for the Darling Harbour Authority will remain separate until 2001 to allow consistency in decision making in the lead-up to and during the Olympic Games. [Quorum formed.]
In other moves that will improve efficiency and eliminate duplication, the traditional development approval functions of the Sydney Cove Authority and the Darling Harbour Authority have been withdrawn and I am now the consent authority for those precincts. The adoption of the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority Bill will involve amendment to the Growth Centres (Development Corporations) Act 1974, and the repeal of the Sydney Cove Redevelopment Act 1968 and the Darling Harbour Authority Act 1984.
The principal aim of the authority is to protect the natural and cultural heritage of the foreshore area. Key objectives will be to promote, co-ordinate, manage, undertake and secure the orderly and economic planning, development and use of the foreshore area, including the provision of infrastructure; to promote, co-ordinate, organise, manage, undertake, secure, provide and conduct cultural, educational, commercial, tourist, recreational, entertainment and transport activities and facilities; and, to plan, enhance and manage the landscape of foreshore areas. The new authority will be charged with responsibility to manage the development, promotion and use of the foreshores in a responsive and sustainable manner and, at the same time, to encourage the growth of the diverse communities that have connections with the area.
In carrying out any development, it will have to take into consideration the principles of ecologically sustainable development. This is about nurturing our assets not just for the present but for future generations. We are all mindful of the fact that the waterways of Port Jackson and the Parramatta River are historically, aesthetically, socially, environmentally and economically important. During the past 200 years Sydney Harbour and its foreshores have undergone enormous change and now, more than ever before, it is obvious that there is a need for an effective co-ordinated approach. The authority will be involved in increasing public access to the foreshore; linking foreshore open spaces; retaining heritage items and relevant maritime activities; and adopting a holistic approach to issues involving heritage, urban bushland and parks, urban consolidation, and commercial development and remediation.
The planning and land management changes are destined to be in the interests of all users and admirers of Sydney Harbour, its tributaries and foreshores, blending social and community objectives with commercial and financial outcomes.The passing of the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority Bill will be a vital step in preserving, enhancing and showcasing the natural and cultural heritage of Sydney’s inner harbour foreshore and in ensuring that New South Wales has a cohesive land management authority charged with responsibility for delivering quality foreshore environments that are enriching, diverse, accessible and sustainable. I commend the bill to the House.
Debate adjourned on motion by Mr Debnam.
That this bill be now read a second time.