ACCPN Update by Andrea Williams and Paul Munro

Australian Community Centre for Pacific Nations

PNGAA’s proposal for an Australian Community Centre for Pacific Nations, (ACCPN) thus far has been given only support by those most directly responsible.

Draft Management Plans for the Middle Head/ ASOPA precinct were issued on 3 November 2016 by the Harbour Trust and the NSW National Parks. Public comment on the drafts was required by 16 December 2016.

Notably, the draft plan no longer advocates a major commercial development of the Commonwealth Heritage site at Middle Head. Some small modifications of the uses envisaged to the site make some concessions to points raised in the 800 submissions made to the harbour trust about its Middle Head Management Plan. It is likely that the majority of those submissions came from interested members of the PNGAA and allied organisations. Thanks to everyone concerned; keep up the good work.

A major defect of the Draft Plans is that, despite 18 years of neglect, there is still no clear function envisaged for the Ten Terminal buildings, nor is there a clear acceptance of generating within the precinct an interpretive education facility of the kind proposed by both your association and the Headland Preservation Group. PNGAA’s detailed concept and proposal for an ACCPN, along with much of the support mastered for it, seemed to have disappeared without a trace in the Harbour Trust and NPWS  processes up to this point.

PNGAA lodged written submissions in response to the draft Management Plans. Our submission pressed for a considered response to the proposal for an ACCPN, criticising the lack of response having regard to the heritage values of the site and the national interests that would be served by establishing an ACCPN.

The absence of establishing a footprint for the ACCPN in the Management Plan for the Middle Head precinct would deprive both the Trust and the PNGAA of the opportunity for developing support and funding around the concept.

At a meeting in public of the Harbour Trust Board on eight December some members of the Board appeared to accept that a close consideration would be given to the PNGAA critique of the Draft Management Plan.

The Harbour Trust and the NPWS are expected to make decisions about the Draft Plan by and February 2017.

In the meantime, it is important that members and interested parties supporting the use as we propose for the former ASOPA precinct do what they can to put the case for an ACCPN with politicians and possible organisational or business sponsors.  The PNGAA will need to make best use of its own limited resources if we are to make progress; any member who might be interested to make a continuing contribution to the project should contact the President.