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Monday, 14 October 1991
Page: 1808

Mr CADMAN —-I direct my question to the Acting Prime Minister. Is it acceptable under his leadership, as it is under the Prime Minister's, for members of the Ministry to orchestrate public campaigns designed to overturn Cabinet decisions? Does he support the Minister for Higher Education and Employment Services in his campaign to stop the building for the third runway at Sydney Airport? Does he agree with the position of the left wing that the runway should not proceed?

Mr HOWE —-The Government has, with respect to the third runway, had a process which has been open to members of the public. Issues like the third runway--

Mr Tim Fischer —-Two years, six months.

Mr Snowdon —-What did you blokes do in 30 years?

Mr HOWE —-The point being made by my colleague behind me is that, if Opposition members want to complain about decision making in relation to the third runway, they ought to look at the many years that they had in office to resolve the problems of the Sydney Airport. The fact is that the Government has set up a process and that process will enable the Government to make a decision this year. My understanding is that there has been a supplementary report based on the very large number of submissions that have been received in response to the environmental impact statement. The Minister for the Arts, Sport, the Environment, Tourism and Territories has a limited amount of time to consider those submissions--I think a little over 40 days--

Mrs Kelly —-Forty-two days.

Mr HOWE —-When she has done an analysis of those views and of any other views that may be relevant, she will make a recommendation to Senator Collins as the Minister directly responsible and the Government will make a decision. The important thing is that in contentious issues there is a process that allows a proper analysis of the issues and appropriate comment on them. That process has been gone through and the Government, at the appropriate time later this year, will be in a position to make a final decision.