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Tuesday, 11 October 2016
Page: 1535


Senator CAMERON (New South Wales) (19:35): I wish to speak tonight on an issue that is of significant concern to my community in Blaxland, in the Blue Mountains, and to all of the surrounding communities, including Penrith, St Marys, Mt Druitt, St Clair and Erskine Park, and that is the negative impact that could be foisted upon Western Sydney due to the building of Western Sydney Airport. This is a massive development and it has massive implications for Western Sydney, but my community do not feel as though they have been consulted properly. My community feel as though they are being ignored with their genuine concerns. There is increasing concern around the area about this airport. There is no faith in the consultative process that has been undertaken by the federal government in relation to the airport. There is no faith in the assumptions that underpin the supposed jobs that will be created or the environmental impacts from the EIS statements that have been made so far.

There was a recent meeting in Springwood where between 450 and 500 residents came along to express their concerns to the Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten. The concerns would be widely known to people who live near airports anywhere. People were concerned about the noise. People were concerned about disruption. People up there were concerned about the World Heritage listing of the Greater Blue Mountains. People were concerned that there will be no curfew for the Western Sydney airport whereas if you live in the eastern suburbs, the inner west or the North Shore of Sydney you have a curfew. Why, they say to me, are Western Sydney residents being treated as second-class citizens? If it is good enough for the east to have a curfew, it is good enough for the west to have a curfew.

They are very concerned that the transport issues that will surround this airport are horrendous. You cannot imagine a modern airport being built with no pipeline to the airport for fuel. All of the fuel for the airport will be trucked in. All of the fuel for massive jets will be trucked into Western Sydney. It does not make any sense.

Aboriginal heritage issues have been ignored. The effect on schools has simply been dismissed. The need for a rail link has been dismissed. This really is about profit before people. People of Western Sydney are waking up that the bureaucracy are treating them with contempt. I personally raised 25 issues in a public submission to the original EIS and in the second EIS 20 of those issues were ignored. These were issues that my community were raising with me and asking me to raise within the EIS process to get answers. They were ignored.

The mantra about jobs and growth arising from the airport seems to me to be a problem, because the EIS says that manufacturing jobs will decline as part of this airport build. The agricultural jobs will decline. In my view, they will be crowded out by lower paid jobs at the airport.

They are also saying that we have to wait till the airport is being built for the flight paths to be determined—that we have to accept the concept of the airport and, once we agree to the airport, they might look at flight paths. When I questioned the department about this, they said flight paths would be determined purely on a commercial basis. It will depend what the airlines and the airport want for maximum profitability.

I say that if an airport is built in Western Sydney it has to be done in a better, more consultative manner than this. What has been foisted on Western Sydney is unacceptable. We should not be treated as second-class citizens in Western Sydney. If the east is good enough for a curfew, the west is good enough for a curfew.