“it is a great day for sydney because it is a very rare opportunity that we have to return harbour foreshore land to the people,” mr zimmerman said.the former hmas platypus submarine base will be open to the public for the first time in more than 150 years.photo: nick moir“that’s why the howard government created the sydney harbour federation trust so that these former defence sites weren’t sold for housing but actually preserved for future generations.”mr zimmerman said the federal government had spent $70 million on the site, including $50 million on decontamination.mr zimmerman suggested a lack of funds was to blame for the poor state of public land around the harbour.in contrast, the trust was set up as a self-funding agency by the howard government to manage harbour sites such as cockatoo island and snapper island, north head sanctuary in manly, the marine biological station in watsons bay and georges heights, middle head and chowder bay in mosman.“that’s why sites like here and chowder bay have either been adaptively reusing some of the building stock to generate some income to protect these sites and make sure they don’t end up like some other public lands around sydney harbour where you see the deficiency of funds impacting on the quality of the natural environment and the built environment,” mr zimmerman said.a spokeswoman for the nsw national parks and wildlife service said in a statement: `the trust and the npws work under very different legal ...