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Thursday, 25 June 2009
Page: 7266

Mr MURPHY (9:39 AM) —Today I am very pleased to record that phase 1 of the runway end safety area at Sydney airport has been completed on schedule. This means that restrictions on the use of the east-west runway at Sydney airport have been eased significantly and noise-sharing arrangements have recommenced during early morning and late evening from 6 am to 7 am and from 7 pm to 11 pm. This is positive news for my constituents in Lowe. The east-west runway is essential for the fairer distribution of aircraft noise and its access, as my constituents well know, is extremely important for noise-sharing arrangements. I have spoken on behalf of my constituents in this place on numerous occasions to express their concerns about aircraft noise. Due to the severely restricted access of the east-west runway over the past eight months, the completion of phase 1 is warmly welcomed by my electorate.

As I have informed my constituents, the closure of the runway was announced by Sydney airport two days after the 2007 federal election. The details of that announcement were never revealed by the former Howard government during the election campaign. The upgrade consisted of the extension of the east-west runway to meet international standards. Despite the necessity of the works, the lack of community consultation by the Howard government with constituents from Lowe and surrounding electorates was contemptible, showing an unprecedented disregard for affected residents.

However, the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, the Hon. Anthony Albanese, imposed 22 strict conditions on the essential safety works to minimise the noise impacts on surrounding communities. As part of those 22 restrictions, the minister increased the working hours to 22 hours per day, seven days a week, effectively halving the proposed period of severe disruption to noise sharing from 15 months to eight months. Further, the minister maintained the existing cap on movements per hour and the curfew hours to ensure respite for residents during construction.

I am extremely pleased to note that last week, on the approval of the Sydney airport master plan 2009, the minister again reaffirmed the government’s commitment to maintain the cap of 80 flights per hour and the curfew at Sydney airport and to invite the state government to participate in a joint study to find a suitable site for a second Sydney airport. Importantly, the minister has also confirmed the continuation of fair noise sharing at Sydney airport.

I take this opportunity to commend the minister and the government for the 22 restrictions placed on the construction of the runway end safety area for the benefit of surrounding communities. This is another example of the Rudd government’s responsive approach to my electorate and the people of Sydney’s inner west. I remain optimistic that the remainder of the works will also be completed on schedule by March 2010 and that the residents of Lowe will benefit from the full resumption of noise-sharing arrangements. I also look forward to meaningful discussions at the next Sydney airport community forum in July when I represent my constituents. I will continue to fight for their concerns in relation to aircraft noise as we await the release of the national aviation white paper expected later this year. (Time expired)