FoMH welcomes the recent media announcement by the Minister for the Environment, Hon. Greg Hunt MP on behalf of the PM and Federal Government, regarding Malabar Headland. His enthusiastic support for, and emphatic commitment to retain the entire Malabar Headland site in public hands forever and that there would be no development on the site, was a great relief to us, and to many, many people locally and throughout Sydney and beyond. You can view one of Minister Hunt’s interviews in the previous post below.

There are however, a number of questions and areas of uncertainty that need to be resolved. Some have been raised in the previous post, and here are a few more:-

Do we need a Malabar Headland Protection Bill passed by federal parliament that enshrines this permanent protection?

Remember the “never-ever GST” or “no carbon tax” or “no cuts to health, education, pensions”, etc: promises by successive federal governments which didn’t happen. People are rightly sceptical of these type of promises.
Whilst no-one would dispute Minister Hunt’s unequivocal support for saving the Headland, is that really enough to save it? A permanent protection bill similar to that proposed in 2012 would protect it in perpetuity. See our May 2012 Post here.

Just some weeks ago NSW Senator David Leyonhjelm announced an agreement that would allow the NSW Rifle Association to relocate from ANZAC rifle range to an upgraded, world class facility near Fairfield. He stated that he received a written agreement from Finance Minister Mathias Cormann that the Commonwealth will fund a $15 million upgrade of shooting facilities, thereby freeing up Malabar Headland.

Can the Commonwealth confirm that this relocation will take place and provide a timeline for it to occur?

FoMH’s long-held vision is for the relocation of the rifle range to a suitable facility within Sydney basin, allowing the opening up of this land as public open space and national park. You can view our vision in our 2002 draft Community Plan of Management for Malabar Headland here.

The Department of Finance consultant (Coffey) report makes it clear that for full remediation to take place on Malabar Headland, the shooters first need to be relocated. Other potential users of the site (and former users such as Equestrian and Model Planes) are barred until the site is remediated.

Is there a budget and timetable for remediation?

At present, and despite Minister Hunt’s statements, the reality is that only about 17 hectares (or just 10%) of the total site is permanently protected, being the western bushland now the Malabar Headland National Park. For decades we have heard many ministers and MPs from all the major parties professing their support for saving the entire headland. It appears that the shooters can soon be relocated and therefore remediation can begin in earnest. Now is the time for all of us to work together to ensure this actually happens, to allow the site to be permanently saved, remediated, accessed and used by the community as they have been promised for many years.