paul keatingIn 2004 a relatively small number of container ships still graced Sydney Harbour and Botany Bay was being eyed off once again for development considered inappropriate on the Harbour shores.  At a forum in Sydney’s Town Hall titled “Should Sydney Harbour remain a working Harbour?”  Paul Keating lined up with the then Tourism Taskforce boss Chris Brown and others to argue against container shipping on the Harbour.  It was inappropriate to have ‘tarmac like structures’ in the Harbour, he said.  And by default he was also arguing that they should go to Botany Bay.  Which they did.   As a result only a small part of the Banksmeadow shoreline (where Joseph Banks famously walked) remains – heavily eroded and polluted.

After ridding the Harbour of container ships and the Miller’s Point terminal the area was re-named Barangaroo and a Design Excellence Review Panel under the Chairmanship of Keating set up to deliver an inspirational plan for the area.    The winning design from Philip Thallis was discarded and in 2009 Keating was arguing for a design that included the reinstatement of the original shoreline.   More recently  Keating has found praise for the Casino project and so too has NSW Opposition Spokesman, Luke Foley.

Luke-Foley-NSW-Shadow-Environment-MinisterYet in response to the recent release of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust Master Plan both Keating and Foley  have been critical.    Foley doesn’t want easier access with ferry and train stops.  Instead he proposes stopping all vehicles including tour buses at the roundabout near Boy Charlton pool.  The Botanic Gardens is a State-owned asset with a mission “to inspire the appreciation and conservation of plants”.  Foley states that the focus “should always be on plant science and providing a green space for people who live and work in Sydney.”  The master plan does provide opportunities for improving the focus on science with a purpose built Herbarium, an expanded Library, more space for educational activities, and better interpretation and engagement.  The ‘green spaces’ and the rest of the estate shouldn’t be limited to those fortunate enough to live or work close by.  Under Foley’s proposal access would become more difficult, particularly for visitors with restricted mobility and the new Herbarium would not be built.  He proposes bush regeneration for Mrs Macquarie’s Point but this would be better carried out in our pest ridden National Parks, particularly around Botany Bay.





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