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Monday, 29 November 2004
Page: 134

Mr MURPHY (9:00 PM) —Tonight I again raise the issue of aircraft noise and Sydney airport. Mr Speaker, you will doubtlessly recall that in the last two parliaments I raised this issue on countless occasions in speeches and questions on behalf of the constituents I represent in my electorate of Lowe. As I found out during the recent election campaign, the Liberal Party in my electorate still believe it is acceptable to break promises, betray the people of the inner west and pretend this issue has gone away. Not a chance. I will continue to fight for my constituents who are unfairly affected by aircraft noise from Sydney airport.

As I have noted on many occasions, the ministerial direction that brought the Sydney airport longterm operating plan into being back in 1997 stipulates an aircraft movement target to the north of Sydney airport of 17 per cent. It is an appalling indictment on the Howard government that since the introduction of the LTOP not once in seven years has Airservices Australia achieved the target of 17 per cent of all aircraft movements promised to the people living to the north of the airport. On the contrary, residents of the inner west living to the north of Sydney airport have suffered percentages of aircraft traffic movement far in excess of the 17 per cent target. Indeed, the minister's briefing notes on Sydney airport, which provide official data on air traffic movements for Sydney airport, show that aircraft movements to the north of Sydney airport have averaged around 27 per cent of all air traffic movements in a single review period. This means there are nearly 60 per cent more movements to the north of Sydney airport than the residents legitimately expect from the published LTOP targets. In fact, in certain review periods air traffic movements to the north have risen as high as 33 per cent—or nearly 100 per cent higher than the target. This situation is intolerable.

Cynically, the Minister for Transport and Regional Services has repeatedly responded to my questions by saying that the LTOP has been `substantially implemented'. That is an insult to my constituents. Aircraft noise for my electorate in Sydney's inner west remains one of the major environmental issues confronting Sydney. It is a chronic environmental problem aggravated by the greedy sale of Sydney airport by the government before the aircraft noise problems had been solved. Following the sale of Sydney airport to the Southern Cross consortium for an absurd $5.6 billion on 28 June 2002, my electorate can expect an ever increasing, massive increase of aircraft noise and, with it, air traffic. More disturbingly, the higher volumes of traffic mean more pressure to revert to parallel runway operations.

All this is noted in an environment where the government systematically misled the public with the false expectation that the statutory provisions of the Airports Act 1996—in particular, sections 18 through 22 inclusive, as they then were—would ensure that Sydney West airport would be constructed and made operational as part of the strategic solution to Sydney airport's aircraft noise problem. Instead, the Prime Minister abandoned Badgerys Creek and gave the winning bid to Southern Cross consortium and Macquarie Bank—not to mention the PM's former chief of staff, Mr Max Moore-Wilton, who I note is now both the chief executive officer and the general manager of Sydney Airport Corporation Ltd. In this foul sequence of events, the worst case nightmare has unfolded for the people I represent. Sydney airport was sold alone, devoid of any legal requirement on the winning privatised entity to build Sydney West airport. As a result, the government has condemned the residents of Sydney to a single airport servicing a population nearing five million.

Finally, I note that, following the making of the master plan for Sydney airport which projects huge increases in air traffic movements, the SACL exhibited the draft major development plan for Sydney airport's car parking and commercial facilities of the internal terminal precinct in July 2004 and, within a short space of time, the Sydney airport environment strategy. With that draft development plan came a non-renewal of pricing surveillance for parking facilities at Sydney airport. At each and every opportunity the coalition government has adopted an anarchic, laissez-faire approach: a system of no government is good government. The coalition has given the owners of Sydney airport carte blanche to make as much money as they like with all but no government interference. It is truly repugnant—truly a total abnegation of environmental and governance responsibility. Tonight I again put the government on notice that I will continue to relentlessly pursue it in this House and through the Sydney Airport Community Forum. That is the least my constituents in Lowe deserve. (Time expired)