Environment Minister Greg Hunt announces section of Malabar headland to be
national park, riders to return
March 18, 2015
Donna Wright from South East Equestrian club is delighted with a Federal
Government decision to fix Malabar Headland’s central section and allow horse
riders to return.
THE Eastern tip of Malabar
headland will be declared a national park and horses will again canter along
the iconic strip of southeast Sydney’s coast.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt
stood overlooking the headland this morning, reaffirming that “this land will
be in public hands forever” and dashing concerns of a sell-off.
The 48ha south-eastern section of
the site will be transferred from the Abbott government to state government
hands and declared a national park.
Under the agreement the federal
government would also contribute $5 million to remediate a central section,
once a controversial land dump.
The existing ANZAC Range, used by
the NSW Rifle Association, will be upgraded and horse riders returned to the
headland behind the shooting range.
Equestrian club spokeswoman Donna
Wright has campaigned for the riders to return since they were driven off in
October 2011 due to fears of asbestos contamination.
Ms Wright said it been a “very
long journey” to get the horse riders back on the land.
“Just to be able to get that
whole community back too ... we had children as young as five riding,” she
About 60 horses were removed,
with many sold as there was no where else to use them.
Horses rode off the headland on October 31 2011 while it was being
remediated. They are now set to return following an announcement from
Environment Minister Greg Hunt.
Ms Wright said a program to get
people with disablity riding on the headland would be revived.
Maroubra MP Michael Daley
welcomed the protection of the headland but said no one would be able to access
it with a shooting range live firing.
“This announcement today depends
entirely upon how quickly the government can remediate the rifle range site, so
that people can get access to the eastern part of the headland,” Mr Daley said.
“Because you can’t have a
national park operating in the middle of a live shooting range.”
“The sooner you clean up the range and
relocate the shooters, the sooner the whole can be turned over to the public.”
In 2012 the NSW Rifle Association
successfully fought a Labor government attempt to evict them from the 100ha
central headland section.
The shooters have been offered
$15 million headquarters in Western Sydney as an incentive to move off the
The announcement comes two months
after a Department of Finance report surfaced detailing a mixed-used
development on the site would generate a “significant return” in less than four
But on the same day the document
came to light, which said redevelopment could net up to $1 billion, Mr Hunt
went on radio to rule out the sale.
Mr Hunt said he expected to
transfer authority to the state government in the next six months.
Remediation of the central
headland section is expected to take about the same time.