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Monday, 18 August 2003
Page: 18734

Mr McCLELLAND (4:34 PM) —It is wanton neglect and irresponsibility on the part of the Prime Minister to dismiss the need for a second Sydney airport. Indeed, the Deputy Prime Minister has said, `We may never need one.' The draft Sydney airport master plan predicts that in the next 20 years passenger movements will triple to 68.3 million. It is predicted that there will be approximately 412,000 aircraft movements per year—more than 1,100 each day and every day of the year flying over Sydney homes. In my electorate of Barton this will mean the current area requiring noise insulation, which now extends from the airport to the railway line at Rockdale, will be extended to the suburb of Bexley, and the current noise impact now experienced at Bexley will be extended out to Penshurst. This will have a profound effect on the quality of life of people living in my electorate.

To underline the extent of the government's neglect, the predicted increase in passenger movements will take airport traffic up to the equivalent of that now experienced at Chicago's O'Hare Airport and more than that experienced at London's Heathrow Airport. Each of those airports is about four times the size of Sydney airport. London's Heathrow Airport operates without a curfew and Chicago's O'Hare Airport has four terminals and currently operates seven runways, with an additional runway on the drawing board. It is also worth noting that both Heathrow and O'Hare are supplemented by smaller airports—Gatwick and Midway respectively. In contrast, Mascot airport is landlocked, and there have already been two massive incursions into Botany Bay. The community and the bay itself cannot tolerate any more expansion. This government should learn from overseas experience. Sydney is now a global city. In our immediate region, 20 years ago Singapore had to take the bull by the horns and shift its airport from the immediate environs of Singapore to Changi. Hong Kong did likewise 10 years ago and indeed it did so by putting the new airport on another island which, at the same time, was linked with a new road and rail system to Hong Kong. Again, about 15 years ago, Tokyo shifted its airport to Marita and connected the two by a super-expressway and rail system. But our government is burying its head in the sand.

The incapacity of Sydney's infrastructure to handle the increase in air traffic predicted for Mascot airport was underlined on the weekend by a seminar organised by the member for Rockdale, Mr Frank Sartor, in cooperation with Rockdale City Council. Expert evidence was presented to that seminar showing that Sydney is growing by 50,000 people a year. A city the size of Wagga is being added to Sydney each and every year. By the end of 2010, Sydney will have a population of 4,500,000 people and, by 2020, Sydney's population is anticipated to be in the order of five million people.

Every person travelling to the city from the southern suburbs and the Illawarra literally has to travel through my electorate, and city traffic inevitably gets mixed in with airport traffic. In recent years, there has been an 18 per cent annual increase in the volume of traffic from the south, already causing leng-thy delays on General Holmes Drive, Rocky Point Road and the Princes Highway. These major arteries into our city are already becoming strangled and clogged. It is doing to them what bad cholesterol does to one's heart: it is causing massive, sometimes chaotic, problems. With the rapidly expanding population of Sydney, things will worsen before they improve.

But to try to improve the situation is impossible for the planners unless they are presented with all the pieces in the jigsaw. How can they possibly do their job properly unless they are able to factor in the siting of a second airport for Sydney—a decision that the government refuse to make? Tripling the air traffic into and out of Sydney airport will triple the traffic congestion, triple the noise impact, triple the levels of air pollution and triple the risks of accidents. This is an issue which must be addressed now, not in 20 years time or never, as the Deputy Prime Minister would have us believe. This motion seeks to put the siting of a second Sydney airport above politics, and I commend the motion to the House.