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Chair's Foreword

This year has been one of great significance for the Harbour Trust.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had far reaching impacts for our community, and with it, the Harbour Trust. Our focus was to ensure we supported our community during this time of disruption and change. An important part of that was ensuring our wonderful parklands remained accessible to the local and wider community, playing a role in providing refuge and respite.

I am very pleased that, with the support of the Australian Government, the Harbour Trust was able to provide much needed support to our tenants most significantly impacted by the restrictions.

I am also thankful for how Harbour Trust staff have responded to the challenges of COVID restrictions — not only in keeping our parklands accessible and safe, but through innovating with new online experiences, education and programs, to connect with and reach out to members of our community.

As we were dealing with the COVID-19 impacts, the report of the Independent Review of the Harbour Trust was handed down. As a result of the Government’s consideration of its recommendations, the Harbour Trust will now become permanent custodians of our significant Harbour site places, ceasing to be a transitional entity, for the benefit of present and future generations of Australians.

I am grateful to all those in our community, including our wonderful volunteers, local community members and tenants, who participated in the Independent Review by providing submissions or participating in consultation sessions. The community’s passion for our iconic harbourside places, commitment to the vision of the Harbour Trust and respect for our work over the last 20 years, delivered in partnership with the community was powerfully articulated.

My colleagues, the Members of the Trust are delighted that the Government is ambitious for our two key sites for which work remains outstanding — Cockatoo Island and North Head Sanctuary — and recognises the importance of moving the Harbour Trust to a more sustainable financial position. Both these sites are of significance for First Nations people and the Harbour Trust has an important responsibility in continuing these connections.

The Harbour Trust is looking forward to working with Government on these areas in 2020-21.

The Members of the Trust recognise that we should continue to assess possibilities to access private investment and revenue through the leasing and adaptive reuse of our buildings, recognising that this model sustains the operations of the Harbour Trust and gives life to our places, consistent with our legislation, plans and policies. At times, the question of priorities and the appropriate use of our sites is subject to community debate and discussion. This is welcome, valuable and important.

My thanks to my fellow Members of the Trust who continue to work with dedication and passion. This year, we welcomed Michael Rose to the Harbour Trust. Michael brings extensive board experience, and knowledge and experience in urban and cultural policy and delivery. I would like to extend my thanks to Deputy Chair Jean Hay for her role in chairing the Tenant Selection Committee and Garth Callender for his role attending the Portfolio Audit Committee. Jean and Garth have been reappointed through to June 2021, ensuring stability and consistency during this period of change.

Over the year, the Hon. Sussan Ley, MP, Minister for the Environment has spent considerable time with the independent reviewers and community, as well as visiting our sites, and provided significant support to our work. Particularly, the support received in the release of the Markham Close funds required for solvency and tenant support during the COVID-19 period and to enable much needed urgent backlog repairs and maintenance work identified by the Independent Review.

In addition, I would like to thank leaders within the Department Matt Cahill, Deputy Secretary, and the independent reviewers, Carolyn McNally and Erin Flaherty for their open dialogue and insights, and to the Independent Review team, led by Travis Bover, Assistant Secretary.

Of course, the Harbour Trust is more than its sites, its essence is the people who bring their passion to their work. I’d like to thank the dedicated team at the Harbour Trust who continue to work with great commitment, skills and optimism, and to the many volunteers who commit their time to the Harbour Trust and the wider community.

Joseph Carrozzi signature Signature of the Chairman of the Harbour Trust Joseph Carrozzi.

Joseph Carrozzi