PARLSEC 105/03 Thursday, 18 December 2003


The Australian Government today announced that the entire 90 hectare site of defence land at Point Nepean will be retained in public ownership for community use with no commercial development.

All of the land and buildings will be vested into a not-for-profit charitable trust to be called the Point Nepean Community Trust, with an intention to transfer the site to the Victorian Government as a national park in five years.

The lease process for the 90 hectares has been terminated because the Commonwealth could not reach a satisfactory outcome.

The establishment of the Community Trust will ensure:
* no commercial development
* preservation of all heritage buildings
* preservation of the natural environment
* prohibition against sale of any land
* the land becomes national park conditionally in five years

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence, Fran Bailey, said there have always been two guiding principles by the Commonwealth in determining the future of this site - to preserve the heritage and environment and to implement the Draft Community Master Plan.

The Australian Government has already agreed to transfer 205 hectares of bushland to Victoria for a national park and 17.6 hectares to the local Council for public open space and community use.

The Community Trust has been made possible by the generous underwriting of a $10 million 'no strings attached' donation to the Community Trust. The Australian Government will provide an additional $5 million to the Community Trust, as well as ongoing funding to the Australian Maritime College and $4 million currently being spent on heritage preservation.

"I would like to thank the Victorian family, who has requested anonymity, for this generous support which will enable respite care for families with children with special needs to be established. These families often face tremendous challenges and the beautiful environment at Point Nepean will provide a welcome retreat for all concerned," Fran Bailey said. "This kind donation and the commitment of the Australian Government will also ensure there is no commercial development.

"The vision of the Community Trust is clear - we want to create a sustainable future for the 65 heritage buildings to be used as a Marine Education Centre and by a range of community groups, all within a world class national park."

The Commonwealth will establish a Committee of Management as part of the Community Trust to: 1. manage the application of the $15 million towards heritage and environment preservation, maintenance and community programs 2. oversee the implementation of the Point Nepean Community Consortium strategy (the Australian Maritime College, the Maritime Museum of Victoria, the Southern Peninsula Rescue Squad and the Victorian Boonerwrung Elders Aboriginal Land Council Corp) 3. ensure the preservation of the heritage listed buildings, the conservation of all archaeological and indigenous sites and the natural environment 4. manage the site as a national park

The Management Committee of the Community Trust will include representatives of the Community Reference Group, the soon to be established Australian Heritage Council, the Point Nepean Community Consortium, and the Commonwealth. The Chair-designate is Simon McKeon.

"Point Nepean will be entrusted for the people of Australia in the Point Nepean Community Trust to ensure the viability of the 65 heritage listed buildings and the beautiful surrounding environment. We will then conditionally transfer the site in five years to the Victorian State Government as a world class national park," Fran Bailey said.

"From the outset, I have been arguing that we need to ensure the viability of the 65 heritage buildings. The upkeep and maintenance of these unique buildings is enormous. The Community Trust will ensure the viability of the buildings is delivered.

"The Community Trust will operate in accordance with the Draft Community Master Plan. Public access and consultation will be guaranteed. State and local planning laws will apply."

Fran Bailey said she would like to thank the Victorian Opposition for all their efforts in support of a good outcome for the people of Victoria.

The Maritime Museum of Victoria will establish a heritage precinct to showcase the maritime history of Victoria. The Southern Peninsula Rescue Squad will establish a training and rescue facility. The Victorian Boonerwrung Elders Aboriginal Land Council Corp will establish an indigenous museum and assist in the management of the bushland and public open space.

Conditional upon the Victorian Government sustainably managing the 205 hectares of Point Nepean bushland to be transferred to Victoria in 2004 and its ability to sustainably manage the 90 hectare site containing built heritage into the future, the site will be transferred to the Victorian Government as a national park in five years.

Media information: Kevin Lowe 0408 404 468


Final Determination for the Future of Old OCS Land at Portsea

Below is the Parliamentary Secretary's Media Relaese concerning the land and its future.

If OCS Portsea Members wish to be able to help mould the future of the facility - so that it can be utilised for reunions, and remain our "Alma Mata Gathering Place" - please have your say and contribute to the discussions within the Forum (under Future of Point Nepean)