Headland Preservation Group Inc v Sydney Harbour Federation Trust & Others

November 2015

EDO NSW represented Headland Preservation Group Inc in its challenge to the approval of a private aged care facility on public land on the foreshore of Sydney Harbour. The group successfully secured an undertaking from the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust (the Trust), on a ‘without admission’ basis, that it would not issue any planning approval in relation to a proposal for a private development on public land at Middle Head in Sydney Harbour.

The group commenced Federal Court proceedings in March 2015 against the Trust, its Executive Director, and developer Middle Head Healthcare Pty Ltd, seeking judicial review of the Trust’s decision to approve a development by Middle Head Healthcare Pty Ltd of a private aged care facility on public land at 10 Terminal, Middle Head, on the foreshore of Sydney Harbour.

The group argued that the Trust, which is the public authority charged with protecting and managing Trust land in Sydney Harbour, failed to adequately consult with the Community Advisory Committee (CAC) and consequently failed to take into account the CAC’s advice and recommendations as required by the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust Act 2001 (Cth).

The group also argued that the decision was contrary to the objects of the Act and amounted to a breach of public trust.

In November 2015, EDO NSW successfully negotiated an undertaking from the Trust, on a ‘without admission’ basis, that it would not issue any planning approval or take any further actions in relation to the development proposal. Having secured the undertaking, the group discontinued their Federal Court proceedings against the Trust, its Executive Director and Middle Head Healthcare Pty Ltd by consent and on a ‘without admission basis’.

EDO NSW acknowledges and thanks barristers Peter Tomasetti SC and Natasha Hammond for their advocacy and advice in this matter.