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Monday, 31 October 2011
Page: 11985

Mr RANDALL (Canning) (11:16): I thank the member opposite for referring to me as the next government member—I suppose she is Nostradamus. The Air Services (Aircraft Noise) Amendment Bill 2011 is designed to amend the Air Services Act 1995. Before I continue, I congratulate the member for Pearce. This bill would not be before this House were it not for her active role in bringing this matter to the parliament. The Senate conducted an inquiry into the matter.

This action was taken because of the arrogant nature and activities of Airservices Australia, who in 2008 decided to change the flight paths in and around Perth airport in what was described as the Western Australian Route Review Project. The amazing thing was that they changed the flight paths without any consultation. When the local residents suddenly found that they had aircraft belting above their houses at five-minute intervals, Airservices Australia said to them, 'Go and see your local member about it.' We local members had never been told. In fact, Airservices verballed us incredibly by saying, 'It's your member of parliament's responsibility to explain to you what is going on.' We had never been briefed. Suddenly we were being fitted up with something that Airservices Australia decided they would do off their own bat without any consultation, and then they handballed the issue to us. Members like me, the member for Pearce and the member for Swan found ourselves trying to clean up the mess that Airservices had created.

This bill includes a number of things. There will be mandatory consultation between government, industry and community, which will be documented and properly explained. Airservices must advise the government when changes to airspace are going to be made. A detailed commentary on complaints will be made in annual reports, including the efficiency and effectiveness of the complaint process. A community aviation advocate will be appointed, which will assist, inform and advocate on behalf of affected communities to the government.

The member for La Trobe talked about the community aviation and consultation groups. Dare I say again, having been a member of local government authorities and a representative on these sorts of boards: they are totally ignored—and let us hope it does not happen in this case. The utter hypocrisy in this whole debate is the fact that, when these issues were brought to the attention of the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the member for Grayndler, he essentially dismissed them. Yet, before he became the minister in 2007, he never stopped screaming in this place about aircraft noise and how it was affecting his electorate. Before the Howard government took over the issue, he was instrumental in bringing about what was called the Bennelong funnel, which funnelled aircraft over the electorate of the former Prime Minister John Howard. The cynicism of the minister for transport in his reaction to these issues just shows you how self-centred he was. The government had insulation and double-glazing programs for houses. Yet, when we called for action for the affected houses around the airport in the electorates of the member for Pearce and the member for Swan, the government totally dismissed us out of hand.

It was not until the member for Pearce, along with concerned members of the coalition, stressed the need for an inquiry, which the Senate undertook, led by Senator Back, that we finally got some action and got the arrogant Airservices Australia to start listening to the complaints of the people. This bill is the result. My only concern is that the marvellous objectives of this bill will be treated with the same contempt as the minister has treated every body else's complaints so far. He is only interested in himself and the Labor electorates around Kingsford Smith airport; he is not interested in anyone else anywhere in Australia.

I will give you an example. In my electorate is a lady called Pat Martin, in Carradine Road, Bedfordale. Ms Martin claims that on 29 June this year more than 130 aircraft flew over her house—one every four minutes for 12 hours or so. She continually contacts Airservices Australia's complaints hotline and gets a nice little pat on the head for having done so, but nothing changes; they continue to funnel aircraft over Pat Martin's house. She bought her property intending to turn it into a bed and breakfast retreat in the hills, but no-one wants to go and stay there. I have sat on her veranda, seeing the planes go straight over the top of the house. (Time expired)