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Monday, 11 August 2003
Page: 18056


Mr BARTLETT (9:14 PM) —Following a recent statement by the Leader of the Opposition, there has been a lot of talk about the proposed Badgerys Creek airport site. If we could be sure, and it is a very big `if', this was the end of Labor's plans for Badgerys Creek, that would be most welcome. I have been arguing for seven or eight years that Badgerys Creek is not the place for an airport. My parliamentary colleague Jackie Kelly, the member for Lindsay, has been arguing the same thing. At first blush the opposition leader seems to have finally listened to us and to the people of Western Sydney, but we are not out of the woods yet. Two big questions remain. The first question is: will Labor's new position survive Labor's next leadership challenge? So many of Labor's team, so many of its frontbench, are on the record as having argued strongly and stridently for Badgerys Creek. In fact, just 2½ years ago the shadow Treasurer and leadership aspirant, the member for Werriwa, said this in Hansard of Labor's policy:

Our national platform states that we are committed to the construction of a second Sydney airport somewhere inside the Sydney basin. Of course, all urban planners know that sites like Wilton and Goulburn are outside the Sydney basin. Anyone with commonsense would know that the only available site acquired by the Commonwealth, cleared by two environmental impact statements and approved by umpteen economic studies is Badgerys Creek. So Labor policy is to proceed at Badgerys Creek—that is crystal clear ...

`That is crystal clear,' said the member for Werriwa, now one of Labor's leadership aspirants. So the question is: the current opposition leader may be opposed to Badgerys Creek but what will be the position of the next Leader of the Opposition regarding Badgerys Creek?

The second question is: what alternatives are Labor considering? Labor have made it very clear that they are strongly committed to a second Sydney airport. Simon Crean has made that very clear in recent days, so have other Labor spokesmen. That begs the question: where will that second airport be? They have suggested all sorts of locations. Even in the opposition leader's suggestion there was a question about the use of Richmond. They are considering putting a large commercial airport right in the middle of the Hawkesbury area, right in the middle of my electorate, and it is just as close to the Blue Mountains as in fact the Badgerys Creek site is.

There have been serious questions for years over Labor's commitment to retaining the RAAF base at Richmond. In fact, for decades they have been sniffing around airport proposals for the Hawkesbury, as far back as Prime Minister Whitlam in the early 1970s proposing an airport at Galston, just outside of the Hawkesbury area. The point is this: Labor's approach has been consistently transparent for year after year and decade after decade. That approach is simply this: try and get aircraft noise out of Labor held seats and put the aircraft noise into seats that they do not care about—worry about their mates, do not worry about other people who may be affected. I have a message for the opposition leader: the people of Hawkesbury, the people of my electorate, will not allow Labor to turn the RAAF base into a noisy commercial airport. They will not allow him to relocate his airport plans from Badgerys Creek to Richmond. This is just not good enough. The Leader of the Opposition, in his efforts to try to save the hides of some of his own marginal seat members, would consider inflicting aircraft noise on Liberal held seats. It is just not acceptable. It is not tolerable at all. This is utter contempt for the people in my electorate and it stands condemned.

This raises the obvious question about the solution to Sydney's airport needs. The answer is clear, and it was repeated again just 10 days ago in the release of the Sydney airport management plan: Sydney does not need a second airport. I have been on record as saying that for years. The Sydney Airport Corporation has been saying that for years. With better management, with the advent of quieter and larger aircraft, with better use of landing and departure slots, Mascot can last for decades and well into the future beyond that. We do not need a second Sydney airport. The point is that the demands for a second Sydney airport are being driven by the politics of aircraft noise, not by the physical capacity of Mascot. They are being driven by the politics of the Labor Party to try to suit its own seats and its own political purposes. Given that the opposition leader is willing to play those politics for the sake of his own colleagues, to protect his own seats, he needs to come clean and tell us where he plans to build that second airport. So the Leader of the Opposition needs to come clean with his plans for a second Sydney airport and the question is: Mr Crean, where are you planning on putting that airport? (Time expired)