Obelisk Beach, Mosman
Mrs JILLIAN SKINNER (North Shore—Deputy Leader of the Opposition) [10.30 a.m.]: I wish to raise in the Parliament the disgraceful behaviour that has been occurring at Obelisk Beach, in Mosman in my electorate. Members may recall that the issue was raised in this Parliament some time ago. Obelisk Beach is designated as a nudist beach, and it is a favourite of the gay community. Until recently there was little complaint about the activities there. However, because the area has now been opened up with the military vacating Middle Head, children are now using the ovals and the surrounding areas. In recent times sickening incidents have been described there. They include men masturbating in front of children and women, and nude men exposing themselves to children. The other real problem is that the beach is now advertised on websites. The local newspaper, the Mosman Daily , has been correctly crusading about this issue. Yesterday it published an article which read in part:
One website tells its visitors: "Obelisk is a favourite of the gay sun-lover, a secluded beach ? near affluent Mosman. I am not sure what actually happens along those hidden paths, but some say bad things happen to nice boys in the enchanted forest."
That is unacceptable behaviour by anyone's standard. I have written to the Minister for Police, in the first instance, to ask what can be done about addressing this totally inappropriate behaviour, which would be unacceptable not only to mothers and their children but also to every right-minded person. The behaviour, if not criminal, is downright antisocial. I also intend to seek a meeting with the National Parks and Wildlife Service to ascertain whether the designation of the beach can be changed.
I know this matter has been raised with the local police, whom I hold in very high regard. However, there is some suggestion that because the beach is in the jurisdiction of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, technically police officers cannot go onto the beach and patrol it. The beach is now partly under the jurisdiction of the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, so there is real confusion about who is responsible. Frankly, I do not care who is responsible; I just want the problem fixed, as do all the residents in my electorate.
I should point out that this area, having been opened up, is now used by many local sporting groups, including Mosman Swans Australian Football Club and Mosman Football Club, which both use Middle Head Oval. Pupils of the Sacred Heart School also use the area. I am joined in this crusade by the Mayor of Mosman, Denise Wilton, Mosman Councillor Simon Menzies, and many others. I will take this issue as far as I possibly can, to ensure that people can enjoy normal activities in the parks and beaches of this beautiful part of Sydney.
Wonderful work has been done in restoring Georges Heights for public use, not only for the benefit of those who live in the Mosman area but for the benefit of the broader community of Sydney. That has meant that more people are now potentially exposed to this lewd and revolting behaviour that is totally unacceptable. I raise the issue in the Parliament today in the hope that it will not be necessary for me to introduce a private member's bill, for example, or to pressure the Government to take action. I would hope that the Government would agree with me that this behaviour is unacceptable and that action needs to be taken not only to give police the power to be involved in stopping this criminal and/or antisocial behaviour but to ensure that the National Parks and Wildlife Service makes that possible.