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• Noxious Reserve
• Botany Bay
• Private Ownership
• Sand Mining
• Sewage Plant
• Oil Refinery

Industry Intrudes

The Noxious Reserve

Of the 875 hectares of land on the peninsula, some 55 per cent is in private ownership. Apart from the residential occupation of the land, Caltex Oil Refinery is by far the largest industrial establishment. In 1966 two carbon black manufacturing factories were established near the refinery on permanent leases of Crown Land. Abbotts Laboratories was built in 1962 on eight hectares of its 70-hectare holding to manufacture a range of chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Calsil Bricks, now operated by Boral, has a perpetual lease of two hectares on Sir Joseph Banks Drive where it makes concrete bricks. The 35 hectares owned by Imperial Chemical Industries is vacant land from which sand is being extracted.

The Holt family, by 1861 the owner of almost the entire Kurnell Peninsula, has since sold much land but still retains an enormous amount. The Holt group of companies is the largest of the sandmining ventures. Breen Holdings, a large Kurnell sandmining concern since the 1950s, also continues sandmining operations while controlling the Kurnell Landfill, a tip for non-putrescible waste materials. Among the other large landholders on the peninsula are Consolidated Developments and urban developer, Australand. The Sutherland Shire Council and Sydney Water also own parcels of land.

In 1986, a German chemical giant, Bayer, lodged a development application to establish a plant at Kurnell for the formulation and packaging of chemical products. The proposal was highly controversial and attracted shire-wide community opposition. A Commission of Inquiry and an Environmental Impact Study were undertaken. Bayer had invested a large amount of money in purchasing the site, and it invested more in fighting its case in the Inquiry and against the community campaign. The stringent conditions and controls required by the Commission to protect the surrounding ecosystem were finally announced by Bayer to be so onerous that it felt compelled to abandon the project as uneconomic. The outcome was hailed as an environmental victory for the people of Kurnell, the wider Sutherland Shire community and Sutherland Shire Council.

Within Kurnell Village itself there are 25 to 30 smaller industrial establishments ranging from steel-fabricating and automotive repair works to electrical engineering, refrigeration, plastics and concrete products manufacture.
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