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Steward Our Parklands

Steward Our Parklands Picture of Chowder Bay wharf with title of "Steward Our Parklands" in the background

Program of works

The Harbour Trust is responsible for protecting, conserving the environment and interpreting the heritage values of the land in its care. The approach to the management of these sites is guided by the principles of ecologically sustainable development (ESD). In line with this, the Harbour Trust makes plans in consultation with the community, and implements these plans through a program of works.

An overview of works undertaken across the Harbour Trust’s sites over 2019–20 is provided below:

Sub Base Platypus

The Harbour Trust completed its $23.8 million ‘Stage 1’ renewal project at Sub Base Platypus and it was opened to the public and tenants in February 2020.

The capital works during 2019–20 included:

  Finishing of public areas: Wirra Birra Place, Platypus Lane, and High Street Square.

  Improved public access through the provision of a public car park within the Torpedo Factory including a connecting ramp and bridge to enable disabled access to the site’s various levels.

  Completed refurbishment of Buildings 2 and 10 to enable their final fitout by new tenants.

  Fitout of a small ‘satellite’ Harbour Trust office in Building 10.

  Installation of interpretive, wayfinding, and tenancy signage.

  Installation of netting on cliff faces to deter roosting by Silver Gulls.

North Head Sanctuary

Works undertaken at North Head Sanctuary, included:

  Restoration of the underground Plotting Room by Harbour Trust Restoration Volunteers.

  Commenced improvements to the fire and potable water systems.

  Refurbishment of the residence at 15 North Head Scenic Drive.

  Installation of services infrastructure to facilitate filming activity.

  Ongoing repairs to tenanted buildings, including paintwork, carpentry and plumbing.

Woolwich Dock and Parklands

Works undertaken at Woolwich Dock and Parklands included:

  Improvements to path and resurfacing of Clarke Road. This enabled the temporary use of Clarke Road ferry wharf, while Woolwich Wharf was closed for upgrade works.

  Landscape maintenance and weed removal.

Cockatoo Island

Works undertaken on Cockatoo Island included:

  Conservation works to the historic Powerhouse funded by a grant under the National Historic Sites program. Works included the reconstruction of external steel-framed windows to return the building to its original configuration, and safety measures to facilitate safe access to basement areas.

  Remediation and make-safe works to five historic cranes. Ongoing project.

  Installation of services infrastructure to support a commercial kitchen in Building 123.

  Additional stabilisation works to cliff faces.

  Additional balustrades on heritage retaining walls on the plateau to improve public safety.

  Repairs to the Dog Leg Tunnel timber framing to improve structural integrity

  New air conditioning in Building 30, First Floor.

  Conservation works on several historic cranes, undertaken by the Harbour Trust Restoration Volunteers. Ongoing project.

  Upgrades to the PA system.

  Tunnel repair works to the Power House.

  Repairs to the Electrical Switch Room, Building 59.

Headland Park

Works undertaken at Headland Park included:

  Refurbishment of the residential properties at 1 and 3 Imperial Place.

  Replacement of deteriorated sewer pipework at Chowder Bay.

  Ongoing repairs to tenanted buildings, including carpentry, painting and services.

  Restoration works to 1109 Middle Head Road.

  Renovation works at 7 Imperial Place.

  Commenced restoration works at Building 8 of the Art Precinct (completed August 2020).

Macquarie Lightstation

No capital works undertaken.

Former Marine Biological Station

No capital works undertaken.

Snapper Island

No works undertaken by the Harbour Trust.

Project Governance

To ensure effective management of major capital works projects, a new Project Control Group (PCG) was established to formalise and oversee resources, methodology and key decisions of major works programs. A core function of the PCG is to monitor and control risk, scope, and budget while ensuring active community engagement, and best practice consultation. The PCG will oversee capital works at 10 Terminal, Middle Head and Sub Base Platypus – Stage 2 Works.

Bushland and parkland management

Bushland ecological restoration works continued throughout 2019-20 at Headland Park, North Head Sanctuary and within pockets of remnant bushland and revegetated areas at Woolwich Dock, Macquarie Lightstation and Cockatoo Island.

These works included:

  Extensive control of weeds over an area of 80 Ha.

  Maintenance of more than 10 km of bush tracks and access trails.

  Replanting where required using local plant species.

Bushfire hazard reduction works were carried out at North Head Sanctuary and Headland Park to reduce the risk of unplanned fire impacting on life, property and natural and cultural heritage assets. This included manual and mechanical removal of fuels within Asset Protection Zones around buildings and structures. A 4.5 Ha burn block east of North Fort Road, North Head, has been prepared and is scheduled to be burnt in the second half of 2020 by NSW Fire and Rescue (subject to weather and fuel conditions).

The Harbour Trust also continued to liaise with neighbouring land managers through the North Head Stakeholder Group and the Northern Beaches, and North Sydney/Mosman/Willoughby District Bushfire Management Committees, to further manage bushfire risk at these sites.

The Harbour Trust received a grant from Greater Sydney Local Land Services to carry out a series of annual post-fire botanical surveys of a 6.5 Ha area of Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub west of North Fort Road, that was burnt in May 2018. The first post-burn survey was carried out in October 2019.

In the reporting period, the Harbour Trust received a third round of grant funding of $15,000 from the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment under the Saving Our Species program for bush regeneration works and a survey of the endangered species Acacia terminalis terminalis that occurs at North Head Sanctuary and Headland Park.

The Harbour Trust continued its contract with Australian Wildlife Conservancy to provide scientific services at North Head Sanctuary, including fauna monitoring of the locally endangered population of Long-nosed Bandicoots, and managing the reintroduction of locally extinct species, the Eastern Pygmy Possum, Bush Rat, and Brown Antechinus. This contract was at a reduced level during the lockdown period of COVID-19.

The Harbour Trust continued to work closely with the North Head Sanctuary Foundation who contributed more than 3,000 hours propagating, weeding and planting more than 1,500 native plants across North Head Sanctuary, and carried out numerous education activities, through the Bandicoot Heaven environmental education centre.

The Harbour Trust continues to collaborate with neighbouring landholders at North Head Sanctuary and Headland Park including NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, to manage endangered native species, populations and communities, feral animals and weeds. Fox and rabbit control measures were carried out at North Head Sanctuary throughout the year.

The Harbour Trust’s program of ongoing landscape maintenance works continued across all its sites in 2019-20. These works included mowing and edging of lawns, arborist works, weeding, bush track repairs, mulching and planting of garden beds.

At Sub Base Platypus and Cockatoo Island, seagull management measures have been implemented including netting and cliff vegetation works.

Approximately 5,500 native trees, shrubs, grasses and groundcovers were planted during 2019-20. Plantings occurred at Sub Base Platypus, Middle Head, Georges Heights, Cockatoo Island, Woolwich Dock and Parklands, and North Head Sanctuary.

Harbour Trust volunteer gardeners continued planting and maintaining garden beds around Biloela House and the accommodation buildings at Cockatoo Island and at ASOPA, Middle Head. Volunteer gardening was suspended from the end of March during the COVID-19 shutdown period and resumed in late June.


The Harbour Trust Comprehensive Plan and site-specific Management Plans set out the vision and planned outcomes for Harbour Trust lands. Management Plans are reviewed on an ongoing basis to ensure they address current site conditions and legislative requirements.

In late 2019, the Harbour Trust concurrently exhibited a draft amendment to the Mosman Drill Hall Management Plan and a related planning application for the proposed lighting and evening-use of three outdoor sports courts. Following the consideration of submissions, the Management Plan and planning application were approved with strict controls to ensure the protection of local amenity.

Proposed actions are assessed to ensure compliance with approved Plans, to identify potential environmental impacts, and to put conditions in place to avoid or mitigate those impacts. In 2019–20, the Harbour Trust completed environmental assessments for 20 proposed actions.

The Harbour Trust engages specialist consultants to provide advice on a range of planning matters. In 2019–20, specialist lighting, traffic and environmental consultants provided advice in relation to the operation of Sub Base Platypus. Advice was also obtained regarding the potential traffic and parking impacts of the fresh food markets at Middle Head, while heritage consultants were engaged to advise on the 10 Terminal renewal project.


In 2019–20, the Harbour Trust held formal consultation on the following matters:

  A draft amendment to the Management Plan and Planning Application for the Mosman Drill Hall Precinct, exhibited from 12 September to 7 November 2019.

  A draft Harbour Trust Leasing Policy, exhibited from 30 January to 15 July 2020. There were 19 submissions received during the 24 week consultation period. This policy will be revised to incorporate outcomes of the Independent Review of the Harbour Trust, and community feedback received. It will then be placed on public exhibition.

In mid-2019, the Harbour Trust commissioned a round of open engagement to capture community sentiment and attachment to Cockatoo Island and to understand the community’s future vision for the site. This consultation involved more than 800 people through walk-shops, surveys, pop-up sessions, workshops and interviews with First Nations representatives. This feedback was collated in the Cockatoo Island Consultation Outcomes and published in November 2019.

In 2019–20, the Harbour Trust consulted with key stakeholders, including local communities, on the planning and rehabilitation of our sites. Consultation included formal CAC meetings, meetings with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group, workshops, drop-in sessions, presentations, discussions, newsletters and public exhibition of proposals and draft plans. See Appendix 2 for further information on our CAC.

Harbour Trust staff regularly meet with community groups and individuals to discuss areas of interest. The organisation works closely with other State and Federal Government departments with staff across the organisation participating in working groups, networks and committees. Throughout the reporting period, the Harbour Trust contributed to key pieces of work developed by industry groups; including the publication by the Committee for Sydney, Sydney Harbour our Greatest Asset (Aug 2019) and discussions with the Greater Sydney Commission and Tourism and Transport Forum Australia.

The Harbour Trust also formed part of the partnership and working committee between the NSW and local government on the development of the Bondi to Manly Walk.

Environmental performance 2019-20

The environmental performance of the Harbour Trust’s head office in Mosman is reported every financial year as a requirement of Section 516A of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). It includes our commitments to ecologically sustainable development, the impacts of our activities on the environment and the measures undertaken to mitigate these impacts.

Ecologically Sustainable Development

Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) constitutes a key focus in both the day to day operations and strategic decision making of the Harbour Trust. The SHFT Act requires the Harbour Trust protect environmental values and ensure that the Comprehensive Plan aligns with the principles of ESD. ESD continued to be

fundamental in the management of Harbour Trust sites. Key initiatives across 2019-20 included bushland conservation, adaptive reuse of existing buildings, bushfire management, transport management and air quality monitoring.

Head office — environmental performance

The environmental performance of the Harbour Trust’s head office in Mosman is measured using the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. The GRI is an international independent organisation that helps organisations measure, communicate and set goals for their environmental performance.

These guidelines are used to assess the Harbour Trust’s carbon footprint, through measuring the consumption of energy, fuel and water as well as the generation of greenhouse gases and waste. In April-June 2020, the number of staff working in the office was significantly reduced due to COVID-19. This reduced the Harbour Trust’s consumption of energy, fuel and water.

Harbour Trust Head Office - Environmental performance

Harbour Trust Head Office — Environmental performance

GRI indicators

Targets for 2019–20

Results achieved for 2019–20

Targets for 2020–21

Energy consumption within the organisation (GRI 302)

5% reduction

3.8% reduction

5% reduction

Fuel consumption (GRI 302)

No increase

22% reduction

No increase

Greenhouse gases (GRI 305)

No increase

No increase

No increase

Water consumption (GRI 303)

Not exceeding 2007-2019 average

Did not exceed the 2007-2019 average

No increase

Waste generation (GRI 306)

No increase

No increase

No increase

Resource consumption

Energy consumption

In 2019-20, office energy consumption decreased by 3.8 per cent, which can be largely attributed to the reduced number of staff working in the office due to COVID-19. In 2020-21, we will continue to strive toward a further five per cent energy reduction target by exploring opportunities for reducing energy consumed by improved regulation of office lighting and air-conditioning.

Total Energy Consumpion

Total energy consumption

Annual average (2007–20)



Annual change (%)

Total consumption (MJ)




- 3.8%

Office Energy Consumpion Line graph of office energy consumption, the y axis measure is Milojoules per hundred thousand, the x axis measure is financial years.

Energy Efficiency in Government Operations (EEGO) Policy

The Australian Government’s EEGO policy targets were achieved by the Harbour Trust for the 2019-20 period.

Electricity Consumption

Electricity Consumption

EEGO policy target

Harbour Trust 2019–20

Central services (MJ/m2/annum)



Office light and power (MJ/person/annum)



Fuel consumption

A 22 per cent reduction in fuel consumption was recorded for the reporting period, as a result of both deliberate efforts and unforeseen factors (COVID-19 office shutdown). Our target for 2020-21 is to minimise fuel consumption and not exceed the total fuel consumed for 2019-20.

Total Vehicle Fuel Consumption (Cars and Boats)

Total Vehicle Fuel Consumption (Cars and Boats)

Fuel consumption

2018–19 (Litres)

2019–20 (Litres)

Annual change %












Total fuel consumed




Fuel Consumption Line graph of fuel consumption, the y axis measure is fuel consumptions in thousands of litres, the x axis measure is financial years.

Greenhouse gas emissions

In 2019-20, there was a decrease in the Harbour Trust’s net emissions and carbon footprint, attributable to the continued use of photovoltaic arrays at our Cockatoo Island and North Head Sanctuary sites as well as the effect of COVID-19.

Carbon Footprint

Carbon Footprint



% Change

Total gross emissions (tonnes of CO2-e)




Less offset (Renewable Energy/Photovoltaic)




Total net emissions (tonnes of CO2-e)




Greenhouse gas emissions Line graph of greenhouse gas emissions, the y axis measure is tonnes of CO2 per hundred, the x axis measure is financial years.

Water consumption

A significant decrease in potable water usage at the Harbour Trust head office in 2019-20 was largely attributable to changed working arrangements due to COVID-19. The reduced number of staff attending the head office between April and June 2020 has been accounted for in calculating the daily average per person. Our target for 2020-21 is for there to be no increase in water consumption.

Water Consumption (Potable)

Water Consumption (Potable)

Average (2007–20)

2018–19 (Litres)

2019–20 (Litres)

Annual change (%)

Total office consumption





Daily consumption (Average)





Daily average per person





Water Consumption Line graph of water consumption, the y axis measure is water consumption in kilolitres, the x axis measure is financial years.

Waste generation

The Harbour Trust’s annual waste generation is estimated at 4.9 tonnes, based on the volume of bins (which are shared with nearby tenancies) collected by our waste contractor. The estimated waste generation is the same as the previous year.

The Harbour Trust used approximately 9.38 reams of paper on average per staff member in 2019-20, a slight increase on the previous financial year and above the target of nine reams per person as set out in the Australian Government’s ICT Sustainability Plan 2010-2015.

Our target for 2020-21 is to have no increase in our waste generation and to reduce paper usage to under nine reams per full time equivalent staff member.