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Thursday, 2 July 1998
Page: 4710

Senator MINCHIN (Special Minister of State;Minister Assisting the Prime Minister) (1:37 PM) —I place on record the government's position with respect to the Australian Democrat amendments. The government does not support the proposed amendments which would essentially cripple the operations of Perth and Jandakot airports. The amendments would put in jeopardy the jobs of thousands of workers who rely on Perth and Jandakot airport operations and throw into disarray a network of domestic and international night flights connecting Perth to the rest of Australia and the world.

The Airports Act 1996 already has adequate provisions covering demand management and airport capacity. These require proper consultation should any such proposal be required in the future. That act also contains specific provisions covering master plans, major development plans and environment strategies where the community and other interested parties can make submissions on the operations of the airport. These documents all require ministerial approval.

The introduction of prescribed air routes or flight paths under these amendments would effectively restore current air routes to those previously in existence, losing the safety benefits from previous airspace changes around Perth. The suspension of training flights until air routes have been prescribed would probably close down Jandakot airport where significant international training activity is currently undertaken by overseas airlines which is an important export industry for Western Australia.