At least a portion of undeveloped headland south of Sydney’s CBD is “ideal for improvement”, according to a report proposing a mix of land uses which would generate a “significant return” if sold.
A consultants’ report, prepared for the Department of Finance and obtained by Fairfax Media, says if at least part of the oft-disputed Malabar Headland is sold for development, the government could maximise returns for the Commonwealth “within 3-4 years”.
The proposals outlined in the consultation have been denounced by local MPs, claiming a land sale would be a “breach of trust” by the Abbott government.
“Before the last election there was no mention of development of the headland,” the Member for Kingsford Smith, Matt Thistlethwaite said. “This is the sacred green shoulder of Maroubra beach, the last remaining tract of native bushland between the harbour and Botany Bay.”
The reports says the former Labor government’s plans to convert the 160ha site into national park and public space “does little to improve the economic capital of the site” and “provides limited opportunity for the private sector to contribute”.
While development would require an investment of “up to $1 billion” for construction, divestment of the site would relieve the Commonwealth of “ongoing financial liability associated with the maintenance and decontamination of the site”.
“The site is both surplus to Commonwealth requirements and ideal for improvement through cooperation with the private sector,” the report said.
The consultation proposed one-third of the land could be set aside for mixed development such as commercial, residential, retail and community/government facilities.
Local community group, the Friends of Malabar Headland, are also against any development of the headland area.
“Trying to make money out of it just doesn’t wash with the community,” said Friends of Malabar Headland spokesperson Claire Bettington. “It’s something that has to be looked after, not flogged to death,” she said.
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