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Tuesday, 13 June 2006
Page: 136

Mr BOWEN (4:12 PM) —Today I want to address the House on a matter of key policy difference between the government and the opposition—that is, the importance of Badgerys Creek airport. This is a particularly important issue for my electorate and for those who live in Kemps Creek, Horsley Park, Mount Vernon, St Clair, Erskine Park, Greystanes and Bossley Park. Over the past several years people in these areas have expressed their concerns about the prospect of aircraft noise and the significant disruption that an airport in Western Sydney would cause.

The government has broken its promise on Badgerys Creek airport. It promised to make a definitive announcement on the future of the site by 2005. It is now June 2006 and there has been no announcement. On 10 May 2005, I asked the then Minister for Transport and Regional Services two simple questions:

(1) When will he be making an announcement on the future of Badgerys Creek Airport.

(2) What further studies, reports or reviews are necessary before he makes a definitive announcement on the future of the proposed Badgerys Creek Airport.

Twelve months later I have now received a reply from the new minister for transport which does not answer the question. The answer states:

The government has previously made it clear that it does not believe that a second Sydney airport will be needed in the foreseeable future. The position has not changed.

That is not a guarantee.

Mr Slipper —That’s an answer.

Mr BOWEN —What would you know about Badgerys Creek airport? That is not a guarantee; that is not an answer to the question. The government promised a decision by 2005 but, instead, what we have is a review of the reviews and a promise of further reviews. The people who live in the areas affected by the airport have to live with the proposed Badgerys Creek airport being noted on section 194 certificates when they sell their houses. Some of them have to take action to ensure that their houses are noise-proof. Because of the proposed airport they have to install insulation, new windows and so on. This imposes a significant cost on residents in my electorate.

All we get from the government are weasel words, squibbing and a refusal to make a decision. If the government says that the airport is off, it should either sell the land or do something else with it. I have been out to the site. It is still fenced off and there are still signs on it saying, ‘Keep out: Commonwealth land’. The government is reserving the land for an airport.

The people of Western Sydney deserve policy certainty, and they deserve some of their representatives—like the honourable members for Lindsay, Greenway, Macquarie and Macarthur—to stand up for them. Instead we get weasel words from the government and we get squibbing from government MPs, like the honourable member for Lindsay. All she has been able to say is, ‘No new airport is being planned at this time.’ It is simply not good enough for a government member to be saying that—‘No new airport is being planned at this time.’ What about next year or the year after? (Time expired)