Kurnell Sand Dunes

About this Item
SubjectsBeaches; Environment
SpeakersSpeaker; Collier Mr Barry; Beamer Ms Diane
BusinessQuestions Without Notice

Page: 3613

    Mr COLLIER: My question without notice is to the Minister Assisting the Minister for Infrastructure and Planning (Planning Administration)? What is the latest information on efforts to protect the Kurnell sand dunes?

    Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Baulkham Hills to order. I call the honourable member for Murrumbidgee to order for the second time.

    Ms BEAMER: I know that the honourable member for Miranda has a keen interest in this issue and has followed it closely. The Cronulla sand dunes at Kurnell—

    Mr Kerr: Cronulla sand dunes? It's the Kurnell sand dunes, sweetheart.

    Mr SPEAKER: Order! I place the honourable member for Cronulla on three calls to order.

    Ms BEAMER: If you want to get sexist, this is not the place to do it. It is referred to as the Cronulla sand dunes, you sexist schmuck. Don't you "sweetheart" me!

    Mr SPEAKER: Order! I do not know whether the honourable member for Cronulla heard me, but I placed him on three calls to order for that disgraceful interjection.

    Mr Kerr: I would like to withdraw that remark. After what the Minister said, she is no longer my sweetheart.

    Ms BEAMER: The Cronulla sand dunes at Kurnell and the surrounding coastal landscape—90 hectares—have been the subject of community concern and activity for more than 10 years.

    Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Gosford to order.

    Ms BEAMER: The bottom line is that the stripping of vegetation and sandmining over the years has meant that we were in danger of losing a coastal icon. The Cronulla sand dunes, so named because they can be clearly seen from Cronulla Beach some six kilometres away, have been showcased. The area was the site of legendary movie director Charles Chauvel's Forty Thousand Horsemen in 1940 and another great movie, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.

    Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Gosford to order for the second time. I call the honourable member for Epping to order.

    Ms BEAMER: The site is highly significant to the Aboriginal community, and the dunes still have great significance for the Aboriginal community of La Perouse on the other side of Port Botany. The dunes formed part of a massive and largely vegetated dune system. Following European settlement, dunes in the area were progressively stripped of trees, heath, and native grasses. In February this year, following many representations from the honourable member for Miranda, the Premier and the Deputy Premier announced the intention to list the Cronulla sand dunes on the State heritage register. That announcement began a process of assessment and community submissions. It is interesting that one of the most difficult parts of the assessment was locating and mapping the sand dunes because they are on the move. Scientists tell us that the dunes are moving north-west at a rate of between one metre and seven metres a year. That is a lot faster than members opposite move! However, the Heritage Council has overcome the problem and finally tracked down the dunes.

    Mr SPEAKER: Order! I remind the honourable member for Cronulla that he is on three calls to order.

    Ms BEAMER: I am pleased to inform the House that I have now signed the authorisation to place the dunes on the Heritage Register, and not just the Cronulla sand dunes but 90 hectares which take in the neighbouring Lucas Reserve, Wanda Reserve and Wanda Beach. The only threat to the preservation of the sand dunes in the future will be the natural elements—that is, wind, rain and tide. I am pleased to inform the House that the owner of much of the dunes, Australand, has said that it is happy to undertake the stabilisation and revegetation work.

    This is a terrific example of the local community, landowners and the New South Wales Heritage Office working together to achieve a good outcome, and I congratulate all those involved. As with any listing, the Heritage Council now becomes the consent authority for any developments or works affecting the heritage significance of the dunes. The New South Wales State Heritage Register was established in April 1999 and it now has more than 1,500 items listed: places, buildings, and environments of importance to the people of New South Wales that are preserved forevermore. From the Kurnell sand dunes to the Mount Penang Parklands, the Coal River precinct at Newcastle, St David's Church at Haberfield, Millers Point here in Sydney, and the Coolamon Store near Wagga Wagga, vital heritage landscapes with European and Aboriginal culture are being preserved and recognised. The Premier promised that this would happen, and now we have delivered.