Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 12 September 1973
Page: 923

Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) - I wish to address myself to the Brisbane airport. I have done the right thing in advising the Minister for Civil Aviation (Mr Charles Jones) that I would be speaking on a subject that could be of interest to him. I wish to speak not so much about the Brisbane airport as about what the Government is not doing about the Brisbane airport. My interest in this subject extends back to the late 1960s when I entered this Parliament, appeared before the House of Representatives Select Committee on Aircraft Noise and presented to it in Brisbane a case on behalf of the residents of my electorate. I underlined the noise being made by the increasing number of large aeroplanes. The people of Brisbane were, to say the least, disappointed with the Coombs report, the document titled 'Review of Continuing Expenditure Policies of the Previous Government'. We regret that the Brisbane airport was ever included in the survey conducted by the learned Dr Coombs and his committee. The report suggests that the work required on the Brisbane airport could be deferred for an indefinite period or a specific period. The Coombs report recites some facts which indicate the good faith of the previous Government in respect of building a new Brisbane airport. The report states that the previous LiberalCountry Party Government was spending $lm between 1973 and 1974; $13m between 1974 and 1975; and $18m between 1975 and 1976. That indicates that things were on the move.

In the short time available to me I wish to refer to various Press releases, the first of which dated October 1969 states: 'A ray of hope for Queensland'. The report appeared in the Financial Review' of 24 October 1969 when Mr Swartz, then Minister for Civil Aviation, announced that there would be a rebuilding of Brisbane's international airport. On 23 January 1969 Sir Donald Anderson, that great DirectorGeneral of Civil Aviation, sprang a surprise. A Press article states:

The Director-General of Civil Aviation, Sir Donald Anderson, sprang a surprise on Tuesday when he told a Melbourne Rotary Club lunch that the star part in his next 5-year airport development program would be played by Brisbane.

Five years have almost passed and the new Government has not announced that anything is to be done. On 15 May 1969 the present Minister for Civil Aviation said:

Brisbane airport is another facility that requires to be moved. It is obvious that there is a noise problem it Brisbane.

That is an understatement of the facts.

In 1971 the previous Liberal-Country Party Government set up a Commonwealth-State advisory committee with the Queensland Government and the Brisbane City Council in order to review the master plans for Brisbane airport. On 16 December 1971 announcements were made relating to the inquiry and the need to consider ecological problems. It was said that it was imperative to move the noise nuisance to the south west of the airport without causing unacceptable noise levels in other closely settled areas. In Brisbane the height of buildings has had to be restricted because Brisbane is on the direct approach path for many aircraft arriving there. The placement of the Brisbane airport is restricting the size of buildings in that city, thus adding to building costs. The number of floors and the number of tenants that can be accommodated in relation to the initial outlay on land are restricted.

It is rather amusing to look back to 1971 when the present minister for sugar - the Minister for Northern Development or northern sugar - was very critical of the previous Government.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! He is the Minister for Northern Development.

Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) - Thank you, Mr Speaker. The present Minister for Northern Development (Dr Patterson) made known to this House that he had learned that the Commonwealth was spending in Queensland only one per cent of the money spent on air terminals throughout the nation. He said that it was a shabby deal and that Queensland was being savagely discriminated against. Looking back now that one per cent seems generous. It is a pity that the Minister for Civil Aviation has squibbed the opportunity. Perhaps I should not say 'squibbed'.

Mr SPEAKER - Avoided the opportunity.

Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) - Thank you, Mr Speaker. It is a pity that he has avoided the opportunity to debate this issue. He avoided debating the new Sydney airport only yesterday and he has again avoided an opportunity tonight to reply to the irrefutable arguments that I am putting forward in relation to Brisbane's getting a shabby deal. The time available to an honourable member in an adjournment debate is very short but I want to point out that the new Government foresaw what would happen. The Minister for Civil Aviation is a very clever man. He is difficult to pin down or to bring into this House to make a statement. He camouflaged the Government's decision to shelve the Brisbane airport project by making an announcement through his Department that there would be need for a further inquiry. I refer the Minister to the Senate Hansard of 23 May which contains an answer given by his representative, the Minister for Works (Senator Cavanagh), to Senator Lawrie. Senator Cavanagh said of the previous study:

The Brisbane airport studies have advanced to the point where preliminary cost estimates are available for government consideration together with a quite comprehensive environmental impact statement.

As a member from the State of Queensland that this Government considers expendable I object most strongly to the manner in which the people of that State, and particularly of Brisbane, are being treated. The suburbs of Norman Park, Balmoral, Bulimba and others in my electorate are suffering increasingly from the noise made by aircraft. The new honour able member for Lilley (Mr Doyle) gained his seat by 35 votes at the last election.

Mr Doyle - I will do better next time.

Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) - The honourable member will not have to worry about airport noise next time because he will be back in his old suburb of Sandgate. The honourable member for Lilley has said hardly a word about the aircraft noise problem. There are suggestions that there is more concern about shifting the airport because certain traditional Labor areas might have to be moved. As the honourable member for Lilley had a majority of only 35 votes, it could be the kiss of death for him, or more importantly, for Labor in the electorate of Lilley. I repeat that we do not like the shabby treatment that is being meted out to the city of Brisbane. If the Minister for Civil Aviation cares at all about Queensland it is high time that he set about reversing the Labor Government or Cabinet decision to give Brisbane a very low priority in what it considers its great program.

I warn the Minister that just as I was tenacious when my own Party was in power in my endeavours to ensure that a new airport for Brisbane was built, so will I persist now and it will be so much easier for me to continue a campaign against the new Labor Government, not just on the airport issue but on many matters of policy which adversely affect the standard of living of the people not only of the electorate of Griffith or of Queensland, but of the whole of Australia. I hope he takes heed of this warning and that next week when Cabinet meets he says to those present: 'This is absolutely stupid. We must reverse this decision because the people of Queensland deserve better.' This will be the test of the man and if he does not do this I suppose he will never do anything.

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honourable member's time has expired.

Mr Chipp - Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I do not want to be pinpricking but I seek your advice. Is it not a long established convention of this Parliament and of the Parliament of Westminster that a Minister of the Crown should at least be in the House if not at the dispatch box when debates are in progress?

Mr SPEAKER - It is an established practice and I am pleased that the honourable member for Hotham has drawn my attention to it. I wonder whether the honourable member for Phillip will see the Government Whip and inquire about a Minister being at the table.

Suggest corrections