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Monday, 25 October 2010
Page: 1347

Mr ALBANESE (Minister for Infrastructure and Transport) (6:24 PM) —I thank members of the House for their comments and contributions to the debate on the Airports Amendment Bill 2010. I know that a number of members will contribute to the ongoing debate on these issues, including the member for Hindmarsh and the member for Makin.

I will keep my remarks tight, given the time frame. The opposition has moved an amendment to defer voting on this bill until the Senate committee inquiry has concluded. This is nothing more than a delaying tactic. Let us be clear about a few things. Firstly, the Senate and the House are separate chambers and have separate purposes. If the Senate wishes to consider this bill through an inquiry it can do so, and the House will be able to consider any amendments in due course. The idea that the House should be held hostage to the Senate is ludicrous. Secondly, this deferral tactic has been tried by the opposition before, with the health amendment bill. Simply, the parliament must be allowed to function.

It is important to recognise that the Airports Amendment Bill has already been introduced into this House before. This current course of action is as a result of an extensive consultation process, leading up to the aviation white paper Flight path to the future. We had a discussion paper, then a green paper, then a white paper—so there has been full community consultation on this issue. This bill is about getting the balance right between ongoing investment in aviation infrastructure, community consultation and the integration of airport planning with local, state and territory planning regimes. With our airports becoming busier and our major cities growing, airport planning is more important than it has ever been before. The government is committed to bringing national leadership to planning our major cities, and the reforms contained in this bill support that broader agenda. The public rightly demand better information and consultation when it comes to airport development and especially the impacts of aviation on local communities.

I thank members for their contributions. The Senate is having an inquiry, and if there are any recommendations coming from that inquiry they will be considered as is appropriate. That is not a reason to delay the passage of this bill. I commend the bill to the House.

Question put:

That the words proposed to be omitted (Mr Truss’s amendment) stand part of the question.