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Monday, 22 March 2004
Page: 26812


Mr ALBANESE (5:46 PM) —I rise today to again put on the record my absolute opposition to the Sydney airport master plan. The Minister for Transport and Regional Services received a draft of this plan at the end of last year. Since then there has been a public consultation process. The overwhelming majority of hundreds of submissions, of thousands of petitions and of hundreds of letters which I delivered to the minister just last week indicate absolute opposition to this plan. The minister has to make a decision by 30 March, and that decision can only be to support or to reject the plan. I call upon the minister for transport to reject it.

It paints a devastating picture for the residents living in the suburbs, particularly those to the north of Kingsford Smith airport. According to the figures released in the draft master plan, there will be a 295 per cent increase in the number of air passengers moving through Sydney airport. In the year 2023-24 there will be 68 million passengers, compared with 23 million in the year 2001-02. The draft master plan also states that there will be a 180 per cent increase in the number of aircraft movements at Sydney airport, seeing an increase from 225,200 movements per year in 2001-02 to the projected number of 412,000 movements per year. The argument by Sydney Airports Corporation Ltd that such an increase in passengers and movements can be achieved by the airline industry using much larger, less noisy aircraft is fanciful, dishonest and just not on. It is fanciful for SACL to argue that the increase in flights and passengers can be accommodated without the construction of a second airport for Sydney.

It is one thing for Max Moore-Wilton and the private owners of Sydney airport to argue to maximise their profits; it is another thing for the government to simply acquiesce to that narrow agenda. As figures 6.4 and 6.5 of the draft master plan show, the majority of aircraft movement and passenger increases will be related to domestic air travel. This occurs using smaller, noisier aircraft than international class aircraft, meaning far more regular movements to cope with it. It is clear that the massive increase in passenger movements and aircraft movements would result in the following. Firstly, it would mean the removal of the cap on aircraft movements set at 80 per hour, in place as a result of the private member's bill that I moved in this House upon my election in March 1996. It would result in the removal of the 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew first introduced in 1963 by agreement but enshrined by legislation thanks to the Keating Labor government in the Sydney Airport Curfew Act 1995. It would mean the cancellation of noise-sharing arrangements in the long-term operating plan even though the targets have not been reached. There is also significant pressure on the government to remove the curfew and caps on air movements from sectors of the airline industry, and the increase in numbers outlined above only gives credence to these arguments.

It also means a massive increase in insulation and the acquisition program because of the severity of the effect on people of aircraft noise. It would need the acquisition and demolition of houses in my electorate in the area north of Sydenham Green—already 151 homes have been demolished—right across Sydenham station and into the suburb of Marrickville, having a devastating impact on my community. As shown in figure 16.4 of the draft master plan, the following boundary widening would need to apply for insulation. It would see the boundary extending all the way directly northwards from Stanmore right to the shores of Iron Cove Bay in Lilyfield. Slightly westwards, it would see it extended to cover the whole of Marrickville as well as the majority of Lewisham and the western end of Petersham, and the boundary would be required to be extended eastward to cover properties in Newtown and Camperdown, more properties in Stanmore—and perhaps as far as Erskineville.

This radical increase in the insulation program would have a very disruptive impact on the lives of people around the airport. Under the long-term operating plan, just 17 per cent of movements from Sydney airport should be to the north. We have already seen that figure average above 25 per cent, but it can sometimes be around 50 per cent. There is no escape from the fact that if you increase the capacity of the airport as envisaged by this master plan you effectively will need to close the cross-runways. The airport will operate simply on the main two north-south parallel runways, having a devastating impact such as occurred after the opening of the third runway.

The master plan suggests there will be no need for a second Sydney airport in the next 20 years. I believe this is dishonest and motivated by the profit-taking needs of Macquarie, who own Sydney airport. There is no doubt that, unless a second airport is built for Sydney, the inevitable pressure will be on to move the regional flights to Bankstown and other regional airports, thereby having a devastating impact on Sydney.

We know that the government have to respond by 30 March, and we will see whether their agenda is synonymous with the agenda of Sydney Airport Corporation. What is Labor's agenda? At its national conference, Labor unanimously outlined an alternative agenda, which took into account the needs of Sydney, New South Wales and Australia—the economic needs of having a viable airport policy—but also took into account the needs of residents. The Labor resolution has at least seven major parts. The first is a commitment to the legislated cap, and the second is a commitment to the legislated curfew. Third is a commitment to fully implementing the long-term operating plan. Fourth is a commitment to ensuring that all those eligible for noise amelioration measures receive them.

Fifth, Labor will consider the particular needs of schools. Schools such as Fort Street High School and Tempe High School in my electorate of Grayndler should be insulated. There is no reason why any young Australian should have their education and learning disrupted every 50 seconds due to the accident of where they live. Sixth is a commitment to support slot allocation and priorities that preserve access for regional airlines, while giving preference to larger aircraft. We will not abandon regional New South Wales and regional Australia. Most importantly, upon coming to government Labor will do a new, comprehensive EIS into a preferred site south of the Nepean River through to the Southern Highlands. Labor will work with the New South Wales government and local governments to draw upon their best advice to identify specific sites within this corridor and ensure that we get on with building a second airport for Sydney.

But there is another alternative. The Greens say on the one hand, when they are in my electorate and campaigning in local government elections, that they do not support a second airport; they support closing Kingsford Smith airport. But down in Cunningham, on the other hand, the member for Cunningham says the Greens do not support a second airport either. What do they support? People parachuting from planes to get out? What an absolutely dishonest, nonsensical position from the Greens. But you can expect nothing more from them, given the dishonest and unprincipled way in which they have conducted themselves in my electorate.

Sylvia Hale, a New South Wales MLC, ran and was elected for the No Aircraft Noise Party in the last local government election. Yet, when returns came out, it was found that she donated $5,000 to the Greens campaign—that is, $5,000 to her major opponent. And guess what? When the state election came up, she suddenly converted, found herself a Green at No. 2 on the ticket and got elected to the legislative council. Talk about privatisation! The Greens have privatised positions on their ticket for the legislative council in New South Wales. In terms of local elections, they are running a campaign locally about who is donating to what party. I can assure you that the Marrickville Council Labor team have received no donations above $500, unlike the wealthy people who have $5,000 in their kitty to donate to another political party. (Time expired)