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Monday, 18 August 2003
Page: 18736


Mr ALBANESE (4:44 PM) —The first policy which the current Prime Minister launched in his 1996 campaign was Putting People First in the electorate of Lowe. He committed the incoming Liberal government to building a second airport for Sydney. He did that because, as the member for Bennelong, he knew that Sydney needs a second airport. That has been confirmed by the master plan. This is a master plan that predicts that the number of passengers going through Sydney airport will increase from 23 million today to 68.3 million, from 255,000 movements up to 412,000 movements—and that is why Sydney needs a second airport. It is simply unsustainable—the Prime Minister knows it, and every member of this House knows it—because Sydney airport, unlike other major airports around the world, is something like four times smaller in geography than airports such as O'Hare and Heathrow, and Sydney airport has three runways, not 10, 11 or 12 as we see at other major airports.

What the masterplan means is noise above 70 decibels over two million residents of Sydney. The noise above 70 decibels, which is defined as noise so loud that you cannot have a conversation, will go to the north to Warrawee, to the north-west to Northmead, to the north-east to Darling Point, to the west to Peakhurst and to the east to Coogee and out across the Pacific Ocean and beyond. It is an unsustainable position and what no second airport for Sydney means is a debate to delay the inevitable—building an airport. There will be one, and members such as the member for Macquarie should be honest and acknowledge that, unlike Badgerys Creek, which is a long way from his electorate, airports such as Richmond are very close to his electorate. As for these other sites that the government will be forced to choose if there is no second airport, regionals will go to Bankstown, as the minister foreshadowed a couple of years ago. That is the real plan: maximising the profits of the privatised airport.

In the meantime we need a Sydney airport community plan, and members opposite who represent areas around Kingsford Smith airport have had nothing to say about this, including the Prime Minister. We need mandatory enforcement of the curfew and the cap. This master plan has in it schedules outside the curfew time, and the government has taken no action over that. We need to reform LTOP so that we maximise the flights over water. We need to provide insulation for schools. This is not a theoretical airport; this is a real one, and my constituents cop it every 50 seconds. Two weeks ago, I had to write a reference for my students at Tempe High School, who could throw a tennis ball and hit the airport and whose school is not insulated, because their education is disrupted every 40 seconds. I want to see the government and the chair of the education committee of the House of Representatives have something to say about kids not being able to get a decent education because of aircraft noise.

This government also has a plan to move the terminal control unit to Melbourne so that the air traffic space around Sydney airport—and Perth, Adelaide, Canberra and Hobart airports as well—will all be controlled from Melbourne. We had a meeting with Airservices Australia. The members for Cook, Mackellar and all these seats came along and said, `We're against it'—but what have they done about it? They will not stand up. I make no apologies for standing up for my constituents, because they know that I am a fair dinkum representative, like the member for Barton and the member for Lowe, and at election time they will wonder why the people who have run this big scare campaign have no aircraft noise solutions for Sydney. We have a 1930s airport with 21st century air traffic movements. The fact is that we do need a second airport, and we will get one. That is why Labor has established a committee to choose a preferred site for a second airport prior to our national conference in January. We will have a site—we will choose it—but this motion today is an attempt to get bipartisan support for that, get the politics out of it and actually get a solution in terms of good policy. Surely that is what is needed, because for too long party politics has got in the way of a decent long-term solution. You should support this proposed resolution, support the committee and get on with doing what is best in terms of not just the impact of aircraft noise but also the economic necessity for Australia to get this right. (Time expired)