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Monday, 24 November 2003
Page: 22592


Mr Murphy asked the Minister for Transport and Regional Services, upon notice, on 29 May 2003:

(1) Is he aware of the Senate committee report on the Inquiry into the Development of Brisbane Airport Corporation Master Plan dated June 2000 and the eight recommendations in the majority report at paragraphs 1.23 to 1.30 inclusive.

(2) Is he aware that Sydney Airport Corporation Limited (SACL) has commenced administrative processes in late December 2002 in order to fulfil its statutory obligations under the Airports Act 1996 for Sydney Airport to have a master plan.

(3) With respect to Recommendation 1 of the Senate report, has the Airports Act 1996 been amended to include an object and purpose statement for airport master plans; if so, when, if not, why not.

(4) With respect to Recommendation 2 of the Senate report, has the Airports Act 1996 been amended to specify the relationship a major development plan has to the Master Plan; if not, why not.

(5) With respect to Recommendation 3 of the Senate report, has the Airports Act 1996 been amended to include more prescriptive requirements for community consultation by airport owners and airport-lessees; if not, why not.

(6) With respect to Recommendation 4 of the Senate report, has the Department of Transport and Regional Services developed a set of protocols which outline the requirements for community consultation in relation to airport master plans and major development plans; if so, when and will he table a copy of those protocols in the House; if not, why not.

(7) What action is the SACL taking to conduct more open consultation with affected groups, including community groups; if no action has or is being taken, why not.

(8) With respect to Recommendation 6 of the Senate report, has the Airports Act 1996 been amended to place a responsibility on airports to disclose to the public draft flight path information prepared by AirServices Australia as part of draft master plans; if so when, if not, why not.

(9) Did he direct the SACL to investigate different community consultation models in order to identify the various ways in which more effective community consultation can be conducted; if so, when did you issue that direction; if not, why not.

(10) With respect to Recommendation 8 of the Senate report, have the dual roles of AirServices Australia as government adviser and external consultant been critically examined to determine whether there is a potential for conflict of interest; if so, when was that critical examination undertaken and will he table this examination in the House; if no examination has been undertaken, why not.

(11) Why is the administrative process governing the drafting of the master plan for Sydney Airport essentially the same flawed process criticised in the Senate report as that which governed the drafting of Brisbane Airport's master plan.

(12) What action is he taking to avoid the same flaws occurring in the drafting of the master plan for Sydney Airport; if no action is being taken, why not.


Mr Anderson (Minister for Transport and Regional Services) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Yes. The Government tabled its response to the recommendations of the Senate Inquiry into the Brisbane Airport Corporation Master Plan in the Senate on 16 May 2002. This is available on my Department's website at: www.dotars.gov.au/transreg/apr_Senate_Inq_Brisbane_master_plan.htm.

(2) Yes.

(3) The Government's current review of the Airports Act 1996 (the Act) will take into account its response to the aforementioned Senate inquiry.

(4) See answer to (3), above.

(5) In its response to Recommendation 3, the Government gave no commitment regarding amending the Act to include more prescriptive requirements for community consultation by airport owners and airport-lessee. The Government considered that the consultation requirements in sections 79 and 92 of the Act ensure that airport operators undertake a structured public consultation process as part of the master planning and major development planning processes. However, the Government in its response did undertake to develop a standard set of guidelines to promote a shared understanding of how consultation processes should be managed. These guidelines will be developed following the Government's current review of the Act to ensure the guidelines are consistent with any other related outcomes arising from the current review.

(6) See answer to (5), above.

(7) A preliminary draft Master Plan, Sydney Airport Corporation Limited's (SACL's) proposed strategic plan for the development of the airport, was released for the required 90 day public consultation period on 1 August 2003. This process concluded on 29 October 2003. Any consultation process beyond the legislated requirements is a matter for SACL.

(8) In its response to Recommendation 6, the Government did not agree to amend the Act to require the inclusion of flight path information in draft master plans. The Government's response was that these issues would be effected via amendment to regulations. These amendments are yet to be made as changes to the regulations will be developed following the Government's current review of the Act to ensure the regulations are consistent with any other related outcomes arising from the current review.

(9) See answer to (7), above.

(10) As part of the process of corporatising Airservices Australia, the Government will review Airservices Australia's regulatory functions to determine how they might be best undertaken in the future. This examination will take into account potential conflicts of interest and the need for any arrangements to separate commercial from regulatory functions.

To prevent any potential conflict occurring, Airservices Australia has initiated internal procedures to formalise the approach to such work. In February 2001 the Chief Executive Officer approved a modus operandi for handling environmental work associated with airport Master Plans. This involved a protocol being issued within the organisation. The protocol was sent to all business units on 2 April 2001 and is attached.

(11) The requirements for the draft Master Plan are set out in the Airports Act 1996. I am advised that the Senate Committee Inquiry into the Development of the Brisbane Airport Corporation Master Plan and the Government's response have been brought to SACL's attention.

(12) See answer to (11), above.