New lease on life for Sydney Harbour's historic sites

17 June 2021

The Morrison Government’s Sydney Harbour Federation Trust Amendment Bill 2021 has passed the senate today, securing the future of some of the nation’s most significant heritage sites as publicly owned assets.

Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley said the reforms would ensure ongoing public access to iconic sites including Cockatoo Island, Macquarie Lightstation, North Head Sanctuary, Woolwich Dock, Sub-Base Platypus, Macquarie and Headland Park Mosman.

“After years of passionate and often divided debate, the Bill reflects a united community and government approach to the continued protection and enhancement of these sites,” Minister Ley said.

“It follows the first public review of the Trust, and extensive consultation about the best ways to preserve public access and amenity.”

The Bill ensures the retention of the Trust as an ongoing entity.

“The Morrison Government has provided $60 million to restore and maintain historic Sydney Harbour Federation Trust buildings, and the passing of this Amendment Bill will lay the platform for the future viability of the Trust and its incredible array of sites,” Minister Ley said.

Further information on the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust Amendment Bill can be found here: www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=r6687  

Fast Facts

  • In September 1998, the Commonwealth Government announced the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust as a statutory agency tasked with rehabilitating former Defence and other Commonwealth lands around Sydney Harbour, conserving their natural and built heritage, and returning them to the people of Australia.
  • The Trust operated on an interim basis until September 2001 when its foundational legislation – the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust Act 2001 took effect. 
  • The Trust was established as a temporary entity to plan and remediate former defence properties on the Sydney Harbour Foreshore and Islands until 2033. 
  • The Harbour Trust is governed by a Board of Trustees and reports to the Minister for the Environment.