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Sydney Harbour parklands have been a great deal for taxpayers, so why not finish the job?

The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, affectionately known as The Trust, is two decades old. Created from former Defence lands, 90 per cent of its foreshore parklands have been opened to the public. Woven in are 361 buildings, 70 per cent in use, most having heritage significance. More than half of these in-use buildings produce substantial trust revenue, and are beautifully placed in the fabric of the landscape.

Cockatoo Island is one of the sites that belong to the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust.

Cockatoo Island is one of the sites that belong to the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust.

More remarkably still, the trust has essentially paid for itself. Its total revenue of $237 million has almost matched the federal government’s $250 million. A very good deal for the taxpayer.

However, the trust’s work is not yet complete. Another $325 million is needed to finish its comprehensive plan.

Last year, an independent review of the trust was commissioned by federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley. Released last week, it makes 21 good recommendations. It details four options for funding over the trust’s remaining lifespan of 13 years, but it also recommends – thankfully – the trust continue in perpetuity. The options range from no funding to fully completing the trust’s work.

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