SSEC logo The Kurnell Peninsula  
The Kurnell Peninsula home | environment | issues | activities | fact sheets | references  
• aircraft noise &
   airport proposal

• continental carbon
• H1 Site
• H6 Australand Site
• landfill
• landscape

• oil refinery
• sandmining
• sewerage
• tourism
• weed management
• zonings

H6 Site Australand Site

The H6 site is one of the most controversial sites on the Kurnell Peninsula. It has had a chequered history and is still the subject of widespread community and environmental concern. The site has been extensively sandmined during the last 40 years with work having ceased around 1990.

Approximate boundaries of Australand site (Nth eastern end)

Photo: Annette Hogan
What remained on the site after sandmining ceased was open space, a number of deep ponds, and whilst much of the dune system has been depleted, a large exposed dune had survived (above left and below).
Pond and Dune - Photo: Daphne Salt
Photo: Daphne Salt
Following the cessation of sandmining, owners of the site (Australand) investigated the possibility of further developing the land to accommodate up to 1500 residential dwellings. This was met with a strong community opposition and subsequently Australand decided to pursue other options. Plans were then developed to establish a tourist resort on the site. An EIS and Development Application for tourist accommodation, conference facilities and a nine hole golf course were lodged with Sutherland Shire Council in 1996. Some site rehabilitation was also proposed. Sutherland Shire Council rejected the resort proposal but Australand won successful approval via an appeal to the Land and Environment Court.

However, a downturn in the tourism market in the late 90s necessitated another change in direction from Australand. The resort was shelved to be replaced by a revised residential proposal. Extensive discussions took place between Australand and community groups over an extended period during 1999. The newer proposal involved establishing 250-350 residential dwellings and 100-150 aged care units on the site as well as a similar number of medium density units on the adjacent Breen-owned property. An existing pond (see below), in which the endangered Green and Golden Bell Frog had been observed, was to be filled under the proposal. The dune's size and prominence was also to be diminished by about 8m. On these points, and many others, the community could not support the proposal especially given that under the existing zoning, residential development was a prohibited activity.

Aerial view of the Australand site showing the boundaries of the most recent residential development proposal (outlined in red).

Unfazed, Australand lodged their rezoning and development applications to Council in late 1999. Council again rejected the proposal and voted to pursue an alternate environmentally-focussed rezoning. Australand went again to the Land and Environment Court. Whilst the case was being heard, the State Minister for Urban Affairs and Planning, Andrew Refshauge, intervened and announced his intention to 'strip' Sutherland Shire Council of its power as consent authority for the Australand development. This announcement was made with no consultation with either Council or the community. In response Council in mid-2000 established a committee within their newly established Kurnell Working Party to organise a public campaign against the residential development proposal (and the Minister's actions).

In December 2000, the Minister as part of his intervention, announced that an inquiry into Australand and Breen properties was to take place and that a consultant was to be appointed to oversee this process. Consultation meetings took place in February 2001 and following a special Committee of Council, community and environment groups was also established. In late 2001, the Government-appointed consultant released findings which recommended a mixed-use of the site including residential development. However it was also revealed that the inquiry and the consultant were being funded by the developers, Australand to the tune of $250,000. The Consultative Committee subsequently passed a virtually unanimous motion of no confidence in the inquiry process and in the recommendations of the consultant.

In 2001, Sutherland Shire Council undertook a major study on the Australand site and other land zoned 7(b) as part of a submission to the Federal Government proposing that the properties be bought back . In early 2002, the Federal Government indicated that they were not in a position to spend the amount of money required to purchase the land. They had previously announced in 2001, that they would undertake various studies of their own into the environmental values of the particular parcels of land in question.

On 3rd September 2002, Minister Andrew Refshauge announced a study into the "entire catchment of Botany Bay, including the sensitive Kurnell Peninsula" to develop a planning blueprint for the region. With this announcement came a moratorium on major developments in the study area until a regional strategy could be devised, including that proposed on the Australand site.

In October 2004, the strategy is still only in draft stage, and the moratorium is still in place. Sutherland Shire Council's consent authority has not yet been returned.

top of page