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Mar 1, 2012

Heathcote Ridge reaches another milestone

Mark ‘Jack’ Johnson, CEO Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council

The extensive public exhibition of the Heathcote Ridge proposal has now come to an end, marking another milestone in the progress of the largest Aboriginal owned and run project in Australia.

Gandangara has also done a lot of work to ensure stakeholders and the community have a good understanding of the proposal.

In the lead up to and during the exhibition period the Heathcote Ridge Project Team hosted seven neighbour and community forums, consulted with over thirty different stakeholder groups, conducted numerous site visits and been an active participant in the DP&I-led community and agency reference groups.

Our thorough ecological and Aboriginal heritage studies have informed our planning so that threatened species and known Aboriginal sites are protected in a conservation reserve twice the size of Sydney’s Centennial Park.

Our traffic plans include a $100million worth of infrastructure upgrades, we’ve included a range of   innovative initiatives for sustainability and we’ve ensued the risk of bushfire has been a key consideration in all our planning.

Ultimately we have a comprehensive and balanced proposal for Government consideration which will assist alleviate Sydney’s housing shortage and provide local jobs for the people of Sutherland.

Importantly, it will also raise the capital which allows our members to expand health, education and employment programs – the foundations for a healthy, self reliant and culturally rich Aboriginal community into the future.

There has been some robust and strident debate during the exhibition period and this is to be expected for a project of this scale.

Yet, we are obligated to take the opportunity this project offers to make real and lasting change for our people.