- Heritage Listing
- Transfer to the State of NSW
- Site Clean-up and Remediation
- Health and Safety
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Ministerial Statements
- Related Links
- Contact Us
Malabar Headland is an important coastal headland in the south eastern suburbs of Sydney. The site is rich in environmental, cultural and heritage values and is an important asset to the local community and the wider population of Sydney and New South Wales (NSW).
The property is currently part of the Commonwealth Government's non-Defence domestic property portfolio, and is managed by the Department of Finance (Finance) in consultation with relevant state and local government agencies.
The Commonwealth Government's strategic vision is to progressively transfer the Malabar Headland site to the people of NSW as a national park and public open space for all of the community.
The suburb of Malabar was named after a ship called the MV Malabar. The ship was a Burns Philp Company passenger and cargo steamer that was shipwrecked at Long Bay on April 2, 1931. The ship itself was named after Malabar, Indonesia.
Prior to the wreck of the MV Malabar, the suburb was known as either Brand or Long Bay. There have been five shipwrecks on Malabar Headland: the St Albans in 1882, the MV Malabar in 1931, Try One in 1947, SS Goolgwai in 1955 and an unnamed barge in 1955.
The 160 hectare site at Malabar Headland has been used for several purposes since European settlement, from farming and recreational shooting to military use as a training facility, and a base and defensive position during World War II.
The central area of Malabar Headland, known as Lot 301, was previously used for sand mining and waste disposal and currently contains the ANZAC Rifle Range, previously known as the Long Bay Rifle Range. The site has been used as a rifle range dating back to when recreational shooting first commenced in the 1850s. It has more recently been used by a number of organisations for recreational purposes including shooting, horse riding, bush walking, jogging, bird watching, fishing, model plane flying and bush regeneration.
Anzac Rifle Range - central area of the site
Malabar Headland holds several heritage listings. It is listed:
- on the Commonwealth Heritage List for its natural and cultural heritage values;
- on the New South Wales State Heritage Register for its historic and landscape values; and
- as a Heritage Conservation Area under the Randwick Local Environmental Plan.
The site has significant natural, historical, archaeological and built heritage values. For example it contains the endangered ecological community Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub  (ESBS) and heritage listed World War II fortifications.
Once the site is transferred to the State of NSW, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service will protect these assets. The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 will continue to apply to protect the site, including the ESBS, in conjunction with NSW legislation.
An important future objective for the site is to make the site more accessible to the public, consistent with the protection of its environmental and heritage values.
Protection of Malabar Headland
On 9 May 2012, the Malabar Headland Protection Bill 2012  was introduced in to the Parliament of Australia to ensure the Malabar Headland site is preserved and maintained for future generations. The intention of the legislation is to protect the site as national park and open recreational space in perpetuity.
|Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub||Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub|
On 1 August 2010, the Commonwealth Government announced that approximately 70 hectares of additional national park and conservation reserve will be created at Malabar Headland.
This announcement followed a decision to transfer part of the site to the State of NSW. The Commonwealth Government indicated that it would move to transfer the north-western edge of the headland (known as Lot 102) as soon as possible, and that the south-eastern area of the headland (known as Lot 202) would be transferred following further investigation, remediation and subject to the development of appropriate access restrictions.
Map of Malabar Headland [ - 2.65 MB]
The Transfer of Lot 102 from the Commonwealth Government to the State of NSW
A Deed of Transfer [ - 7 MB] was signed on 27 February 2011, between the Commonwealth and NSW Governments for the transfer of Lot 102. Due diligence, including fencing, site clean-up and remediation has been completed and signed off by an Environment Protection Authority accredited site auditor.
On 2 March 2012, the Special Minister of State, the Hon Gary Gray AO MP, and the NSW Minister for Planning and Infrastructure and Minister Assisting the Premier on Infrastructure, the Hon Brad Hazzard MP, signed documents for the transfer of Lot 102 from the Commonwealth Government to the State of NSW.
The transfer of Lot 102 is a significant milestone. It is the first step in a staged transfer of Malabar Headland to the State of NSW. The transfer will create 17.7 hectares of national park which will be managed and protected by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.
A link to the media release announcing the transfer can be found below under Ministerial Statements.
The Special Minister of State, the Hon Gary Gray AO MP, signing the Transfer Documents.
(Left to right) Mr Andrew Smith, Department of Finance; Mr Michael Daley MP, Member for Maroubra; the Hon Peter Garret AM MP, Federal Member for Kingsford Smith; Ms Julie Doyle, Department of Finance; the Hon Gary Gray AO MP, Special Minister of State; and the Hon Brad Hazzard MP, NSW Minister for Planning and Infrastructure and Minister Assisting the Premier on Infrastructure.
(Left to right) the Hon Brad Hazzard MP, NSW Minister for Planning and Infrastructure and Minister Assisting the Premier on Infrastructure; Mr Michael Daley MP, Member for Maroubra; the Hon Peter Garret AM MP, Federal Member for Kingsford Smith; Senator Matthew Thistlethwaite, Senator for NSW; and the Hon Gary Gray AO MP, Special Minister of State.
|View from Lot 102||View from Lot 102|
A Process Agreement [ - 1 MB] was also signed on 27 February 2011 to identify the processes to be undertaken to facilitate the transfer of Lot 202 to the State of NSW.
|Lot 202 of Malabar Headland|
The progressive transfer of Lot 202 will take place once remediation is completed in accordance with the Remediation Action Plan and signed off by an Environmental Protection Authority accredited site auditor.
Works to remediate Lot 202 commenced in late 2011. The remediation works involved removing approximately 235 tonnes of landfill material, asbestos, swarf (metal remnants), car bodies and general waste.
|Swarf material||Waste from Battery Observation Post|
|Asbestos removal||Asbestos removal|
As Malabar Headland was previously used as a Defence site and contains a number of WWII fortifications, an Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) assessment was undertaken to identify any areas of potential UXO risk. No UXO or explosive ordinance related items were identified during the assessment.
Mothballing works on the WWII fortifications were also completed to minimise the safety risk to the public by preventing unauthorised access and to protect the structures from ongoing vandalism. Following transfer to the State of NSW, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service will manage these assets into the future.
A combination of plates and grilles has been installed on the Battery Observation Post to prevent unauthorised access and prevent vandalism
|Safety rails on either side of the concrete platform over the railway cutting have been installed to prevent falls|
A number of projects are underway, or in the planning phase, to clean up and remediate the site, including the decommissioning of the existing derelict buildings that do not have heritage significance; upgrading of the existing leachate control system; and ongoing weed management.
Groundwater monitoring and landfill gas surveys are being undertaken on the central area of the site as part of detailed site investigations.
Groundwater monitoring involves drilling and installing wells at various points along the northern boundary of the site to enable the collection of groundwater data. The groundwater data provides information on any potential leachate moving from the site. Landfill gas assessments are also being conducted along the northern boundary of the site to measure gas emissions.
The data obtained from the investigations will feed into the development of a Remediation Action Plan for the site and inform future works. It is expected that the Remediation Action Plan will be completed by mid 2013.
Upgrade of the Existing Leachate Control System
The Commonwealth has identified works to address leachate leaving the site and entering Maroubra Beach as a key priority. These works will be undertaken in several stages and form part of the broader remediation of the Malabar Headland site.
Northern Boundary Works
The first stage of improvement works commenced on 4 February 2013 along the northern boundary of the Malabar Headland site. These works will improve the quality of the groundwater and surface water leaving the site. A key objective of the first stage improvement works is to separate groundwater, leachate, surface water and stormwater flows, as well as minimise surface water flows to Maroubra Beach. The works include:
- Completing waterway works on the Randwick City Council stormwater outfall
Waterway works have been undertaken to improve water quality and reduce groundwater flows migrating across the site boundary. These works included deepening the existing waterway channel from the pipe outlet running towards the beach, re-lining the channel and revegetating the banks of the waterway.
- Installing a new groundwater leachate collection system
As part of the broader improvement works, a new groundwater leachate collection system will be installed. The existing leachate collection system will be connected to this new system with groundwater and leachate treated and pumped to an upgraded outfall.
- Constructing and commissioning a pumping station and treatment plant to treat collected leachate
A new treatment plant and pumping station facilities will be constructed. The pumping station and associated pipeline will transport the treated leachate from the new treatment plant to the upgraded stormwater retention pond outfall.
- Upgrade to stormwater retention pond
The existing stormwater retention pond will be upgraded to better manage future storm events. Works include the removal of the buildup of sediment within the existing pond and the upgrading of the existing outlet pipe and associated headwall.
Approach to environmental management
Protecting the environment and the community during the northern boundary improvement works is a priority.
Extensive planning identified key environmental risks and the necessary controls and mitigation measures to protect the environment, including measures to reduce any effects relating to potentially impacted surface water and ground water.
To safely complete improvement works to the Randwick City Council stormwater drain and stormwater retention pond on the northern boundary, it was necessary to remove water from areas to be excavated.
The following steps were taken to protect the environment:
- Water quality monitoring to determine the most appropriate management controls
- Minimising the volume of water being pumped to limit the disturbance of sediments and potentially impacted waters
- Ongoing environmental monitoring and testing to assess any potential impacts relating to the de-watering activities.
The waterway improvement works in the Randwick City Council stormwater drain were completed in March 2013. Further upgrade works to the stormwater retention pond will be undertaken over the coming months. Improvement works on the northern boundary are on track to be completed in June 2013.
Environmental controls will continue to be adopted to protect the local environment and provide a safe working environment for workers.
Minimising impact during these works
The Department of Finance is committed to carrying out these works safely. During these works, you may notice:
- Temporary changes to public access along the foreshore area
- Increased vehicle movements in the car park at the southern end of Maroubra Beach to allow for materials and equipment to be delivered to the site
- Excavator and other heavy machinery operating in the area immediately behind the southern end of Maroubra Beach
- Additional fencing installed around construction areas to safely carry out these works
- Removal of vegetation such as weeds to enable construction access.
Qualified, independent environmental consultants are carrying out inspections and completing sampling during these improvement works.
Soil and water quality monitoring has been an important part of the project to assess any potential impacts on the surrounding environment. The results from these tests, including those undertaken by the NSW Environment Protection Authority  indicate that the impacts of construction works are being appropriately managed.
Timing of improvement works
The improvement works on the northern boundary will take approximately six months to complete, subject to weather and latent site conditions. Finance will continue to appraise relevant state and local government agencies of the programmed works.
The safety of all the users on Malabar Headland is the Commonwealthâs priority.
In November 2010, at Financeâs request, Comcare , the Commonwealthâs workplace safety authority, undertook an investigation to advise on the future management of safety issues at Malabar Headland.
On 15 December 2010, Comcare issued Finance with an Improvement Notice under section 47 of the Occupation Health and Safety Act 1991. The notice related to the presence of asbestos containing materials and stated that âPersons who enter and use the site...may be exposed to health risks due to inhalation of airborne asbestos particles from broken asbestos sheeting and pipes throughout the site and within buildings on the site.â
Subsequently, Finance took immediate action to advise the siteâs users of the risks, and fenced off the buildings posing the greatest risk, pending their decommissioning. In addition, Finance reviewed and re-issued the Asbestos Management Plan for the site, to the standard required under the National Code of Practice for the Management of Asbestos in the Workplace .
The ongoing health and safety concerns identified by Finance and Comcare include: site contamination arising from previous and current usage; safety concerns in relation to site activities; and general safety concerns, including trip and fall hazards.
Obligations of Authorised Visitors
Authorised visitors must take reasonable care for their own health and safety and take reasonable care that their actions do not adversely affect the health and safety of others while at Malabar Headland.
They must comply with any reasonable instruction given by the person conducting a business that allows it to comply with the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 or Work Health and Safety Regulations.
- What is the proposed future use for the Malabar Headland site?
- Does the Commonwealth intend to sell the site for residential development?
- Is the land zoned for residential development?
- How is the Commonwealth ensuring that the environmental and heritage values of the site are protected?
- What are the health and safety concerns at Malabar Headland?
- What has the Commonwealth done to address the health and safety concerns?
On 1 August 2010, the Commonwealth Government announced as an election commitment that around 70 hectares of additional national park and conservation reserve would be created at Malabar Headland following a decision to transfer the site to the State of NSW.
Sale of the land is not under consideration. Ownership and management of the site is being progressively transferred from the Commonwealth Government to the State of NSW for future use of the property as national park and public open space. The NSW Government will not be able to rezone the land after it is transferred.
Lot 102 has been rezoned to National Park in the NSW planning instrument, and caveats in the transfer documents are designed to prevent a change from national park use.
How is the Commonwealth ensuring that the environmental and heritage values of the site are protected?
Under the transfer documentation between the Commonwealth and the NSW Government, the NSW Government is obliged to reserve the site as a national park under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NSW). If this is not done within five years of the completion of the transfer, the NSW Government must transfer the site back to the Commonwealth. The NSW Government is also obliged to use reasonable endeavours to have relevant parts of the site included in appropriate heritage registers under the Heritage Act 1977 (NSW).
In the meantime, the Commonwealth is obliged to protect the siteâs environmental and heritage values. The site remediation works proposed (subject to funding) to achieve that aim include removal of contaminated soil from the stop butts on the Rifle Range, decommissioning of buildings containing asbestos contaminated materials, and capture and treatment of any residual leachate leaving the site. These works will facilitate safe public use of the site and realise its potential as a community asset.
Health and safety concerns include: site contamination arising from previous and current usage of the site; safety concerns in relation to shooting activities; and general safety concerns, including trip and fall hazards. These concerns have been raised by the relevant regulatory authorities as well as Finance as landlord.
Assessments of the site conducted by Parsons Brinckerhoff have been released.
The Commonwealth has been monitoring the condition of the Malabar Headland site over a number of years and has instituted a range of assessments and actions to address health and safety issues associated with the historical uses of the site.
- Media Release: Malabar Headland Northern Boundary Construction Works  (26 February 2013)
- Media Release: Malabar Headland - progressive transfer to the State of New South Wales  (20 February 2013)
- Media Release: Sydney gets a new coastal National Park  (2 March 2012)
- Media Release: Deed signed for new national park at Malabar Headland  (27 February 2011)
- Deed of Transfer [ - 7 MB] (27 February 2011)
- Process Agreement [ - 1 MB] (27 February 2011)
- Deed of Transfer Variation [ - 0.3 MB] (12 August 2011)
- Improvement Notices and Certificates of Analysis (Comcare) 
- Waterway Design [ - 195 KB]
- Map of Malabar Headland [ - 2.7 MB]
- Summary of Landfill Gas Data, Malabar Headland [ - 3.7 MB]
- Summary of Maroubra Beach Soil Sampling [ - 4.3 MB]
- Summary of Surface Water and Groundwater Monitoring Data, Northern Boundary, Malabar Headland [ - 55 KB]
- Summary of Surface Water and Groundwater Monitoring Data, Northern Boundary, Malabar Headland [ - 50 KB]
- Randwick City Council 
- Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 
- Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991
- National Environment Protection Measures (Implementation) Act 1998 
- NSW Office of Environment and Heritage 
- Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub 
- Parsons Brinckerhoff Reports
- Malabar Headland Protection Bill 2012 
- FOI Disclosure Log
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