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Thursday, 13 August 2009
Page: 7869


Mrs MOYLAN (4:39 PM) —Anyone familiar with the eastern hills communities in the electorate of Pearce will be well aware of the overwhelming sense of serenity these areas provide. For many people, the choice to live in the hills has been very deliberate, driven by the peace and tranquillity offered. But this lifestyle choice has been shattered for many by a bureaucratic decision made with little care or consideration for those who are affected. In fact, the process, or the lack of it, demonstrates an arrogance that has reached an art form.

Many people would hasten to say that aircraft noise—which the decision was about—is simply a fact of life, and they are right. But for members of the affected communities, aircraft noise has become an intrusive, ever-present and deeply disturbing aspect of their daily lives. Because of the sheer quantity of planes flying overhead, this is not a simple ‘not in my backyard’ argument. One constituent wrote and said:

When you are talking about aircraft on a flight path 600 to 800 metres from your residence at 1:30 am, 2:30 am and 3:30 am, I would defy anyone to tell you that this is acceptable. I would suggest to you that some form of compromise must be possible; it cannot be fair just to expect us to endure both the outgoing aircraft and incoming aircraft as well.

At meetings of the Perth Airport Noise Management Consultative Committee during the previous year, the committee was advised of a review of flight paths but were not advised that changes had been implemented. Many of us became aware of the significant changes when affected residents began contacting our offices early this year. From these earlier meetings of PANMCC it was reasonable for members to conclude that any changes were unlikely to have a significant impact on any one group of people or any one area. The noise assessment process is conducted internally by Airservices Australia and it is done without clear and understandable public information.

The changes have occurred without an adequate public consultation process. An approach by me to the federal minister, the Hon. Anthony Albanese MP, for an urgent briefing into the actions of Airservices Australia took over a month to be responded to, despite repeated calls to his office. Eventually, my request was passed on to Airservices Australia and a meeting was arranged in Perth. Information was sought by me and my colleagues the member for Swan and the member for Canning with regard to the concentration of air traffic over parts of our electorates. A request for the CASA safety report, which gave rise to the necessity for the change, has subsequently been denied to us by Airservices Australia.

It is quite clear to all members of the noise management committee that a major overhaul of the consultation process is urgently needed. Changes to flight paths have a dramatic effect on land use and on the quality of life for residents, and it is extremely arrogant of the minister and of Airservices Australia management to ignore repeated calls for an adequate public consultation process to be implemented. I would urge the minister to take control of his department and order a further review, where the requirements of safety are considered in tandem with a more even distribution of aircraft noise over the whole of the metropolitan area. Consultations should be open for discussion about curfews, noise abatement measures and compensation available to affected residents, as has happened in other major capital cities in Australia.

I will continue to vigorously advocate for my communities’ demands to be heard and for a decent public consultation process that is open and accountable. I have made a submission to the master plan to expand Perth Airport, objecting to further expansion until a satisfactory public consultation process is agreed to along with the establishment of a clear pathway for government subsidised insulation and compensation claims for affected homeowners. Open and public consultation is the cornerstone of our democratic system of government, and I think what has happened has been very, very shabby treatment indeed of the constituents of Pearce and other areas in the Perth metropolitan area. I ask again for the minister to take note of the concerns of residents in the Perth metropolitan area and to ensure that there is a proper public consultation process in the spirit of arriving at a more even distribution of aircraft noise over the metropolitan area of Perth.