Restoring Sydney Harbour for future generations

06 May 2023

Our world famous Sydney Harbour is a source of pride, a magnet for tourists and a hub of business, trade and city life. And yet the previous government badly bungled the management of this national treasure.


The Albanese Labor Government will invest $45.2 million in the 2023-24 Budget to address the critical backlog of repair work to Sydney Harbour left behind by the Liberals and Nationals.


The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust is responsible for conserving and managing nine iconic sites around the Harbour. After a decade of neglect by the previous government, many of these sites are in a dangerous state of disrepair, putting their environmental and heritage values at risk.


At the World Heritage-listed Cockatoo Island/Wareamah, sea walls are cracked, pylons holding up wharves are eroding, and buildings are closed due to safety concerns.


Without urgent action, the future of these famous sites is at risk. The new funding includes:

  • $2.6 million to repair critical infrastructure including unstable sea walls and deteriorating wharfs
  • $7.6 million to repair immediate safety concerns such as rock falls from cliffs
  • $26.5 million to replace rotting wharves and docks 
  • $5.0 million for critical maintenance work to keep sites open and safe
  • $3.5 million for heritage advice and project management.


Sydney Harbour is one of Australia’s most prominent faces to the world. The Trust sites alone attract almost two million visitors every year, generating thousands of jobs and supporting the city’s economy.


It also is a priceless site of Australian history –  telling our story of 65,000 years of First Nations connection and culture, the colonial period which began on its shores, the military posts which have defended it, and the waves of new Australians who have disembarked there.


The neglect of Sydney Harbour is yet another example of the former Liberal and National Government’s underhanded approach to budgeting. The Albanese Labor Government is cleaning up the mess left behind by the previous Government and providing the necessary funding for the services that Australians rely on and expect.


One of the chief tasks of this budget has been restoring Australia’s environmental institutions after a decade of hostility and neglect. The Government has already announced next week’s budget will include $163.4 million for the Australian Institute of Marine Science and $262.3 million for our Commonwealth National Parks, doubling funding for both institutions.


The Albanese Labor Government is stepping in to undo the damage caused by the Liberals and Nationals. We want to protect our precious places and support the Australians who manage them, so they can be enjoyed for generations to come.