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Wednesday, 13 September 2017
Page: 10347

Ms TEMPLEMAN (Macquarie) (10:56): It will be absolutely no surprise to Blue Mountains residents that an independent assessment shows the government's community consultation for Badgerys Creek Airport is flawed. It confirms that what the government did has led to disempowerment, frustration and potential health impacts. This joint study by the Western Sydney Community Forum and the University of New South Wales Centre for Health Equity Training, Research and Evaluation looked at the positive, negative and unintended impacts of the government's processes. The study warns that unless the government changes its approach there will be ongoing negative impacts on the health and wellbeing of my community, including increased stress, anxiety and psychological distress. It says the government should immediately change the way it does things, should value community knowledge and opinions and should be willing to make changes in response to community input.

The failure of this government to be able to do that is highlighted in their latest report on community attitudes, which they claim shows that support for the airport is at an all-time high. They tell us that 91 percent of people are aware of the plans for the airport, but what the data actually shows is that less than half the surveyed group feel they know 'a great deal' or 'quite a lot'. That means more than half know a 'small amount', 'hardly anything' or 'nothing at all' or 'can't remember'. Yet this same group of people are being asked their views on a range of things, and this is taken to be representative of the west.

Another element of this research which might be news to inner-city residents is that Marrickville is now included in Western Sydney. In fact, the government has divided Western Sydney into four areas, one of which includes Burwood, Leichhardt, Ashfield and Marrickville. If you live in Point Piper that is west, but these non Western Sydney residents are being given an equal say on what they think about the impacts of Western Sydney Airport, even though they are completely outside the area that the government thinks will be impacted by 24/7 flights. It would make more sense to include Hornsby and Wahroonga and the upper North Shore, because they are more likely to be in the firing line, according to the available flight plans.

The other completely disingenuous part of this survey is a question asking, 'Are you concerned that if the airport operates 24 hours a day there might be noise late at night and early in the morning?' It says 'if', but, in fact, this government says the plan 'is' to have aircraft flying right through the night, without a curfew, all night, every night. It's no wonder my community has no trust in this government. The Turnbull government is sticking to the motto of: 'Don't ask the questions you don't want the answers to, and don't ask the people who really should be answering the questions.' This means communities in the west are being told: sit down, be quiet and take what you're given. That is never, ever what we need. (Time expired)