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Thursday, 30 November 2006
Page: 114

Mr HAYES (9:54 AM) —In the chamber on Monday afternoon the member for Lindsay once again attempted to perpetuate the myth that the Howard government has no plans for a second airport in Sydney. I cannot help but wonder how exactly she arrived at that conclusion, because the Howard government continues to use weasel words when it comes to answering questions on the future of the land reserved for the Badgerys Creek airport. The Howard government is known for the use of weasel words—words that allow it to get around anything that suits it, and Badgerys Creek is no exception. Rather than being clear with local residents and saying once and for all what is going to happen with the land, the Howard government persists with its use of weasel words.

In August last year I asked the minister for transport about the plans the government had for the Badgerys Creek site and the reasons for its ongoing planning restrictions. Not until 30 May this year—some nine months later—did I get an answer that was full of the government’s weasel words. The minister said this: ‘The government has previously made it clear that it does not believe that a second airport will be needed in the foreseeable future.’ The key words are ‘the foreseeable future’. The minister did not say what the foreseeable future was. The minister did not give good reasons for not lifting the planning restrictions, for why double glazing of windows and additional insulation is used and still being required of local residents or for why residents of Western Sydney should continue to face the uncertainties they do.

Federal Labor has made it clear that, when it comes to Badgerys Creek, the airport will not be built. The only conclusion I can draw from the use of the words ‘foreseeable future’ is that buried somewhere deep in the Prime Minister’s bottom drawer is a plan to build Badgerys Creek airport. If the government does not have a plan to build the airport, it should remove the planning restrictions. Later today the Western Sydney Alliance will be meeting the shadow minister for transport, Kerry O’Brien, me and other Western Sydney Labor MPs to highlight the impact of the ongoing planning restrictions. The feelings of local residents were well and truly vented at a recent meeting that I attended at the Kemps Creek Public School. These feelings of local residents will certainly be made clear when the alliance meets in Canberra today.

As the member for Macarthur said recently when asked about the government’s plan for Badgerys Creek, ‘We are in government to govern, but no-one wants to make a decision.’ No truer words have been spoken by the member for Macarthur, and on this occasion I stand here to say that I fully agree with his synopsis of this government’s actions, or lack of actions, when it comes to Badgerys Creek. (Time expired)