Congratulations to Minister Garrett on his courageous decision to reject the Nobbys Lighthouse development at Newcastle, NSW.
This is the Minister's first decision as federal Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts in relation to built heritage and he has resisted pressure from local and state politicians, and developers to consider the Heritage impact statement (HIS) by independent international recognized heritage architects Clive Lucas and Stapleton pty Ltd. This report clearly states that there would be permanent and irreversible damage if this proposal was to go ahead.
Nobbys Lighthouse is a Commonwealth Heritage place and any change to the headland should be in accordance with section 26 of the Environmental, Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPB&C Act). The proponents had failed to refer their development to the Commonwealth until requested to do so in 2006.
Minister Garrett’s decision will encourage future protection of the cultural heritage values of the lighthouse. The Hunter Regional Committee of the National Trust supports that the headland be open to the public. The development that the Minister has rejected would have destroyed the most significant historic lighthouse on the eastern seaboard. Minister Garrett’s decision enables the public to potentially visit the site and understand its meaning.
Nobbys 'Whybaygamba' is an Aboriginal dreaming place, of special significance to the Aboriginal community, and important to the wider community and the history of Newcastle, and the nation.