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Tuesday, 22 June 1999
Page: 7091


Mr ALBANESE (6:12 PM) —I also wish to speak about Sydney airport and specifically the insulation program around that airport. In the budget there was some welcome news for some residents around the airport, with 216 homes and nine public buildings north of Stanmore Road being offered insulation. Those public buildings include the Harold Hawkins Nursing Home and All Souls Church in Norton Street, St Gerassimos Church in Henry Street, Wesley Uniting Church in Wetherill Street and St Fiacres Church in Catherine Street. All are in Leichhardt. In Stanmore, buildings include St Michaels Church in Clarendon Street, the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Cannon Street and the Buddhist Temple on Stanmore Road. The Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall in Enmore Road will also be insulated.

That is a recognition that the government gave commitments with regard to the long-term operating plan that somehow residents north of Stanmore Road would be better off but the fact is that they are not. Whilst at the moment the figures with regard to movements to the north of Sydney airport have approached the target figures which were set, that is a product more of the weather rather than any good management at Sydney airport. It is quite clear that, as the number of movements at that airport increase, there is no alternative but to use parallel runway operations off the main north-south runway and the new third runway. The third runway was built in order to increase the capacity at the airport. We see concerns that the member for Lowe has raised about the PRM, the precision radar monitor system, are all about increasing the capacity at that airport. Residents to the north of Sydney airport, whom I represent, deserve to have commitments by the government honoured.

In 1996, the current Prime Minister launched the Liberal Party policy `Putting people first' in the electorate of Lowe. Standing next to him at that time was a fellow called Paul Zammit, who was the then Liberal candidate for Lowe. Of course, due to the betrayal of the residents of Lowe by the Howard government, Paul Zammit has since resigned and betrayed the government that betrayed the residents of Lowe. Also at that time, commitments were given that the previous Labor government's commitments would be implemented. Residents living north of Stanmore Road—good working-class people in places like Stanmore and Petersham—received letters from the then Department of Administrative Services saying that their homes would be insulated. I believe that those commitments should be honoured.

I am pleased to say that the Sydney Airport Community Forum has also carried resolutions unanimously calling for those homes to be insulated and those commitments met. I am also pleased to acknowledge the fact that the minister met with Brendan Nelson, the Chairman of the Sydney Airport Community Forum, and me and gave us a fair hearing. I thank the minister for that.

I think that this issue should go beyond politics. One of the issues about Sydney airport is that, whilst governments come and go, the Sydney Airport Corporation and Airservices Australia stay the same. Their agenda is profits. Their agenda is moving as many people in and out of that airport as possible, regardless of what happens to the residents underneath the flight paths.

I would also like to say that the offer of $15,000 extra for insulation for weatherboards, when combined with the slight increase in the cap on the works from $49,000 to $50,000, is inadequate. The fact is that weatherboards cannot be insulated properly. I invite the minister to come to my electorate and have a look at some of the weatherboards in places like St Peters and Sydenham—places where housing prices are amongst the lowest in Sydney because no-one wants to live there. They have no choice: they cannot sell their houses; they cannot move out. They are trapped in a hell because of Sydney airport and because of the expansion in capacity.

As the National Institute of Economic Industry Research showed in its report into the need for a second Sydney airport, unless something occurs as in the building of a second Sydney airport, the number of people affected by increased aircraft noise will grow exponentially. That is why there is a need for the commitments which have been given to be honoured, in accordance with the wishes of the Sydney Airport Community Forum, in a bipartisan way. It is up to the government to take that on board and to fulfil those commitments.