Today we stood with the more than 12,000 community members who signed the petition opposing the Gap Bluff Hospitality development proposal in the Sydney Harbour National Park.
Ms JENNY LEONG (Newtown) [4.46 p.m.], by leave: The Greens support this petition which calls for a rejection of the proposal by Gap Bluff Hospitality. It calls for an investigation into alternative uses for the properties in the Sydney Harbour National Park that are sympathetic to the natural environment and contribute to the preservation of the peace and tranquillity of the area of the Sydney Harbour foreshore. I acknowledge members of the Watsons Bay Association in the gallery today and thank the residents and community members who have worked hard to obtain over 10,000 signatures—from what the member for Sydney said there were more than 12,000 signatures—on the petition.
Watsons Bay is an important heritage conservation area. As the member for Blue Mountains said, Sydney's green space is under attack. We are seeing our urban sanctuaries, our urban canopies, our precious public open green space, under attack from a variety of sources. This is unacceptable. Outrageous plans are made for function centres at South Head, proposals for spaghetti junctions taking 3½ acres off Sydney park, and the attempt to build stadiums on Kippax Lake in Moore Park. It must be stopped. We should respect our parks, our green space and our national parks. They are sanctuaries for people, especially inner city residents who value them as a space to think, ponder and relax, but also as areas that are the lungs of, and give life and vibrancy to, our inner city areas. The plan of management for the Sydney Harbour National Park clearly states:
Private activities and events that impact on the park’s values and accepted customary visitor enjoyment will not be permitted.
For the benefit of the visitors to the gallery, it is a privilege to have had two Ministers speak in debate on the petition. I hope that those Ministers take our concerns back to the Cabinet and put an end to this outrageous plan to build a function centre in the beautiful South Head area. The Watsons Bay community must not be destroyed by encroachments on this national park. An important factor that has not been mentioned is the significance of the Aboriginal heritage of the area. The Gadigal people have not been acknowledged or recognised anywhere in the proposal. The importance of that recognition is continually overlooked. In acknowledging the value we place on our national parks and green spaces we must also acknowledge their value to the first Australians, who have a connection to country that goes back much further in time. The Greens stand strong on this issue. We do not want any communities to lose open green space, whether to spaghetti junctions and polluting tollways in my electorate of Newtown or to function centres on South Head or to the proposed stadium on Kippax Lake. The Greens support the petition. We stand with the community in saying that green space is precious. [Time expired.]