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Monday, 3 November 2003
Page: 21756

Mrs IRWIN (4:00 PM) —The member for Macquarie comes into the House and tells us what Labor and the member for Chifley have done in the past in relation to Badgerys Creek airport. But what he will not do is give a commitment that a Liberal government will never ever build Badgerys Creek. Instead, the Liberals want to give us Badgerys Creek on the never-never plan: they might build it one day but they do not know when. When you look at transport planning or the need for an integrated approach to transport and urban development, the last place to go would be to this government. When it comes to planning, this government has a golden rule. And what is that golden rule? Never make a decision today that you can put off until tomorrow. The one thing about this government that you can depend on is that it will avoid making decisions at any cost.

Transport and urban development must be planned if we are to avoid the problems associated with the growth of our major cities. It requires looking ahead for decades at the impact on growth and planning now to meet those needs. But while this government thinks that it can put off until tomorrow what it should be doing today, businesses, government agencies and ordinary people need to plan their future with some degree of certainty. And there is no better example of this government's failure to commit to a plan than the tale of Badgerys Creek airport.

Who could forget—I am sure that the member for Chifley will remember this—when this government came to office in 1996 the Prime Minister declared that, instead of Badgerys Creek, the government would consider putting Sydney's second airport at Holsworthy. That is the kind of decision making that this government is famous for. But in planning for transport, especially for airport needs, it is essential that we have some degree of certainty. Airports have a major effect on the health, safety and lifestyle of residents in large surrounding areas.

Planners need to know well in advance where airports will be sited in order to avoid the kinds of impacts that airports like Kingsford Smith have on nearby residents. And you cannot make major changes to existing airports like Bankstown without affecting people who have lived with low-level impact but who now face the prospect of jet aircraft operations over their homes. But that is what the member for Macquarie has been pushing for. Let us go back to August 1999, when the member for Macquarie told the parliament:

... the consultancy report points out ... that better development of Bankstown airport, just a few kilometres away from Kingsford Smith, can help relieve some ... capacity problems.

And in November 1999 the member for Macquarie told the House:

We need to work on more effectively using the resources that we have got—using Kingsford Smith more effectively.

... ... ...

Moving some of the regional and lighter planes out to Bankstown ...

But that is not what the member for Macquarie wants in his own backyard. It is quite obvious that he does not want it in his own backyard. When it comes to Richmond air base, he told the House in August this year that Labor wanted to turn Richmond into a noisy commercial airport and put airport noise into seats they do not care about. The member for Macquarie is happy to dump commercial operations onto Bankstown but he will not have them in his own backyard. And he will not agree with Labor's policy to move the second airport out of the Sydney basin altogether. Only the member for Lindsay wants to do that, and she came out with the harebrained idea—does the member for Chifley remember her harebrained idea?—of building the second airport on pylons in the Pacific Ocean.

The member for Macarthur sees no need for a second airport for 30 years, and then it will not be close to Sydney. But the time to plan for our transport and urban development needs is now. If we are to avoid what happened with Badgerys Creek we need to plan for our airport needs now. We cannot keep putting off the hard decisions the way this government does. (Time expired)

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Jenkins)—Order! The honourable member for Fowler will resume her seat.