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Thursday, 4 June 1970

Mr Lionel Bowen (KINGSFORD-SMITH, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Smith) (12:27 PM) - Mr Speaker, I wish to draw the attention of the House to a very urgent problem that has occurred in my electorate. 1 represent a large number of people who are located near a major airport, lt. has been brought to my attention that now, because of what might be termed the actions of the Department of Civil Aviation in conjunction with the State instrumentality known as the State Planning Authority, the value of the properties of these people along with their future prospects of development is affected seriously, lt highlights the problem of bureaucracy. We are elected here and have no say as to how this Department might intrude into people's lives.

The point that I wish to make is this: The Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport is a problem. You will notice, Mr Speaker, that over a short period I have asked the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) whether he will conduct a social survey as to the ....... - of any damage that the people arc suffering from noise from jet aircraft which were introduced into service in the 1960s. He said that this is a matter for the House of Representatives Select Committee on Aircraft Noise. Of course, it is not. It is not within the function of the Committee; nor has the Committee any power to recommend in relation to this matter. Again, when it was suggested by the Opposition that the Committee could have powers to consider where an alternative airport might be located, the motion to this effect was rejected by division in this House.

We now have the spectacle of my people - many thousands of them - being told that because of a noise exposure forecast issued by the Department of Civil Aviation they will be unable to re-develop their properties. This is the most sensational aspect of the whole problem of aircraft noise. A Select Committee of this House is still investigating the matter. Without any by-your-leave of that Committee, the Department of Civil Aviation has issued a noise exposure forecast saying that it would be a good idea for the Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport if, virtually within a 5-mile radius of that airport, no residential development whatsoever took place. In other words, top priority is given to the airport which only came there after the people. The attitude is: Get rid of the people. This is an incredible result.

From the point of view of what this problem means, I refer to the spectacle of people who own a property at No. 22 Tunbridge Street, Mascot, who are fully entitled to redevelop their property with a high density housing proposition in accordance with all the principles of town planning and in accordance with the provisions of the local government scheme. They have been told in recent weeks by the State Planning Authority that an examination of the application reveals that it may bc affected by a noise forecast issued by the Department of Civil Aviation. For that reason the Authority is not prepared to grant approval. It means that the whole of the area in the eastern suburbs cannot be redeveloped.

I have now seen a chart issued by the Department of Civil Aviation which strikes with sterility the whole of the area of my electorate and also a good section of your electorate, Mr Speaker. The unimproved capital value of a portion of the area that I represent is SI 02m and the improved value is S230m. One can see the extensive number of properties involved and the great number of people who will be penalised because of this bureaucratic action. Noise itself is a problem, but it is not the only problem. It is certainly no solution for the Department of Civil Aviation to say: 'We will be able to solve the problem at Sydney

Airport by preventing any redevelopment around it*. That is an incredible result at any time. But if we look at the question of noise itself, we find there are many other problems associated with that area. In fact, noise becomes relevant from a problem point of view at certain hours of the day or night. I can go on record and say that while the people whom I represent deplore the fact that the airport is now so busy, they recognise the fact that they have to put up with some inconvenience. But they merely plead that the curfew will be maintained at night time so that their sleep will not be interrupted. But now they have the problem that irrespective of whether they are interrupted in the day or night, they are going to lose their homes. In the particular case that I mentioned, the loss to these people would be at least $30,000.

This problem of noise is not limited only to the area which 1 represent. Honourable members must be amazed to realise that Sydney Airport, like an octopus, is now to extend its tentacles in all directions. It is preventing the development of the area which I represent, it is destroying the area potential, it is reducing the value of the area and it is penalising the people there. The same thing will happen in 4 other areas. For example, Hunters Hill, Sutherland, Hurstville and Kogarah are affected. It does not matter where one goes. It is amazing to think that the Department of Civil Aviation could produce a report which has caused so much inconvenience for the people of Sydney. Virtually, it is wiping out, from the point of view of effective redevelopment, the rights of at least 500,000 people. If the Department thinks that it can get away with adopting that sort of attitude, it must be seriously mistaken. Protest meetings have already been organised. The Department will bring down on its head the whole wrath of these people who would be fully entitled to say: By all means move Sydney Airport.' The Airport has been described as a capital blunder of the greatest magnitude by a supporter of the Government, and T support him. The amount of taxpayers' money which has gone into this development, which is substandard at any time, is to be deplored.

If we look al the noise exposure forecast issued, we find it is merely an American prototype. That has been indicated in it.

It may not be altogether suitable for Australian conditions. It is merely something that ought to be tested. But now it has been introduced as being mandatory, absolute; it must be carried out. Admittedly, the Department of Civil Aviation has said that it regards it only as a guide, but the Department has influenced the State Planning Authority to adopt the guide. If that planning Authority is so naive, so worldly unwise as to adopt it, then it needs sevcie castigation. My plea to the appropriate Minister here this evening is to instruct the Department of Civil Aviation immediately to withdraw the noise exposure forecast and not to implement it in any planning scheme. At the same time, I ask the Minister to request the State Planning Authority of New South Wales, which has on it no representative from the area I represent, lo say that it has made an error and to rescind the type of decision that has already been made in respect of the premises in Tunbridge Street, Mascot, lt is incredible that with all the resources and planners that we have nobody has really looked at the problem from the point of view of the people I represent, which is this: They will immediately lose all me rights that they now have from the point of view of value. They have no opportunity to appeal in this circumstance As wc ali know in this House, repeated requests have been made regarding a second airport for Sydney or whether there should be other means of alleviating the noise nuisance. The committee in which I am interested is making recommendations in that field, but let mc make this point clear: The noise exposure forecast which was issued by the Department of Civil Aviation said that the noise values should not be overstated as there might well be satisfactory retrofit devices which would lessen engine noise. In other words, this is only a view on a small problem in relation to noise generally. lt should not bc considered that because the Department of Civil Aviation, a specialist body in this field, can say that a jet aircraft passing in a certain line is going to create noise therefore all development under the flight path adjacent to ,'; and extending for a 5-mile radius is to be prevented. I would think that the people affected would be fully entitled to commence litigation from the point of view of the damage they sustained through this sort of action. But from this point of view 1 am entitled to say on their behalf, as their representative, that they have never been consulted nor was any elected representative of theirs ever consulted on this matter. The action taken was instigated by the Department of Civil Aviation without any consultation with the people concerned, though in fairness to the Department it was indicated to be a guideline only.

The greatest caution should be used in these circumstances at any time, but to have the position now that the whole of the Sydney metropolitan area could well be denied its opportunities to redevelop because of a plane causing noise is incredible. lt has been said on the greatest of authority that we could well get more noise from a main road when a semi-trailer or a government bus is passing by. It could even be more intense and more damaging from the point of view of inconvenience to the people. It should not be thought that the noise is any greater if it is high density or low density. The noise is no different from that point of view. So I again emphasise the need as a matter of urgency to revoke the noise exposure forecast as issued to planners and request the State Planning Authority of New South Wales to have another look at the problem and not to implement the decision as mandatory.

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