Mr O'FARRELL (Ku-ring-gai—Deputy Leader of the Opposition) [10.34 p.m.]: All communities have within them those people that we come to know as real gems and real heroes because they work tirelessly on behalf of communities. Tonight I refer to an organisation within the Ku-ring-gai community, the Friends of Ku-ring-gai Environment Inc. [FOKE], which is headed by Anne Carroll, President, and Kathy Cowley, Vice President. I mention also in this regard Jean Posen. FOKE has largely led an effort within the Ku-ring-gai municipality to ensure that the residential environmental amenity which makes up Ku-ring-gai—that is, large homes and significant tree cover—is retained.
I have said in this House on a previous occasion that there have been significant threats from both developers and State Government planning policies which have threatened the character and nature of Ku-ring-gai. FOKE, along with organisations which have been formed latterly, such as the Ku-ring-gai Preservation Trust, have led the way in harnessing resident action in order to ensure that those things which have attracted people to the Ku-ring-gai district for almost a century continue to be preserved. It is with some pleasure that I note this evening that FOKE has been successful in having the Australian Council of National Trusts place on the endangered places list for 2000 Ku-ring-gai urban consolidation areas. This significant nomination was announced by former Federal Labor Minister Tom Uren on 22 August.
In the nomination process, FOKE and the Ku-ring-gai community had the support of Federal member Brendan Nelson, me as a State member and Ku-ring-gai council. Not often would all three levels of government come together to support something like this. The nomination registers at a national level that the heritage of Ku-ring-gai is of national significance, that it is under threat and that urgent measures must be adopted to protect the Ku-ring-gai municipality. The Department of Urban Affairs and Planning is currently considering a draft residential strategy for Ku-ring-gai. In dealing with that draft strategy over many years, but in particular over the past 12 months, council has been at pains, along with FOKE and the Ku-ring-gai Preservation Trust, to try to preserve that unique environment and residential amenity that make up Ku-ring-gai.
I hope that, in the light of this action by the Australian Council of National Trusts, the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning, the Minister and the head of the department acknowledge that the National Trust believes that the urban conservation areas within Ku-ring-gai are of a unique nature and that they are endangered. I am also pleased to note that Keep Australia Beautiful has advised that FOKE's entry has secured a finalist position. The finalist dinner, which will be held in November, will be addressed by the Deputy Premier. FOKE has been invited to put on a display about that significant residential environmental amenity within the municipality. If the Deputy Premier has not already made a decision in relation to the draft residential strategy I hope that he takes note of the National Trust's position, the Keep Australia Beautiful position and, more importantly, the residential position.
The National Trust and consultants engaged by Ku-ring-gai council in relation to that residential strategy recognise the significant built environment of Ku-ring-gai and the need to preserve these areas' heritage features. There is a degree of coincidence, kismet, serendipity in the fact that the National Trust was founded by people who were residents of Ku-ring-gai. It is now worthwhile that the organisation that was founded years ago by residents of Ku-ring-gai is now providing some protection to Ku-ring-gai to ensure that its built environment and heritage are preserved.
As honourable members know, Ku-ring-gai combines a unique blend of remarkable examples of twentieth-century architecture, representative of some of Australia's finest architects, set in equally landscaped surroundings within a region of Sydney bounded on two sides by a natural environment recognised by national park status. As the local member I can attest to the wider community's interest in preserving the unique residential and environmental amenity of Ku-ring-gai. Last year's council election, at which seven members of the Ku-ring-gai Preservation Trust were returned on a council of 10, made it clear in which direction the residents are interested. So I simply acknowledge the work of FOKE, Anne Carroll, Jean Posen, Kathy Cowley, and all those involved in securing this nomination by the Australian Council of National Trusts.