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Tuesday, 24 February 1987
Page: 492

Senator PETER BAUME —My question, to the Minister for Finance, concerns the financing of land acquisition for Sydney's second airport at Badgerys Creek. I remind the Minister that one year ago a letter from the Minister for Aviation to residents of Badgerys Creek affected by the new airport stated, inter alia:

You can sell your land to the Commonwealth right now and I . . . guarantee that you will get a fair market price as determined by an independent government valuer.

I remind the Minister further that the Government has reneged on that promise and is now limiting the acquisition to those with whom firm arrangements had been entered into before July 1986. Further, the Government cannot finance even those acquisitions. I ask the Minister: Was a letter written to him as Minister for Finance by Mr Uren, the Minister for Local Government and Administrative Services, dated 20 January 1987, pointing out that funds available were insufficient for the Commonwealth to meet its obligations even under that narrow commitment and indicating that there were cases of hardship among the landholders at Badgerys Creek to which the Minister, Mr Uren, could not respond? When will the Government play fair with the landholders at Badgerys Creek in the site of the new and second Sydney airport? When will the Government honour its specific promise contained in the letter from Mr Peter Morris, the Minister for Aviation, one year ago and when will the Government purchase the properties of people who cannot sell except to the Government and who cannot move until the Government keeps its side of the bargain which it made?

Senator WALSH —I note for the record that the Opposition seems to be anxious to increase Government expenditure in this area, as in many other areas.

Senator Reid —You made the promise.

Senator WALSH —There is talk about promises. Senator Button was telling us earlier today about the fistful of dollars and the dial a tax cut, the promises that most of the members who remain in the Opposition today made in government in 1977 when they cancelled the cuts four months after they took effect. I do not know whether the letter was written on 20 January but I have received a letter from Mr Uren about this matter. I have replied to it and I do not have the slightest intention of telling Senator Baume what I regard as confidential Government and Cabinet business.

Senator PETER BAUME —Mr President, I have a supplementary question. I ask whether I should take it from the Minister's answer that he resiles from the Government's commitment contained in the letter from Mr Peter Morris to landholders:

You can sell to the Government right now and I-

that is, Mr Morris-

can guarantee that you will get a fair market price . . .

Senator WALSH —I am telling Senator Baume that I do not have the slightest intention of making known the details of what I regard as confidential inter-ministerial correspondence.