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Tuesday, 22 June 1999
Page: 7086

Mrs CROSIO (5:44 PM) —I would like to touch on some of the transport issues that the Minister for Transport and Regional Services was on about, having regard to his areas of responsibility. Before I do so, I have to answer a few things, because if we are going to have a debate, even in the Main Committee, let us have a factual debate. Let us look at history and talk about the $25 billion that was left when the Labor government took over in 1983. Let us talk about the debt of the Fraser government when Mr Howard was Treasurer, and the wonderful deficit that we had then, and then move forward. As my capable friend interjected: who brought in the first postwar surplus that had ever been experienced in this area? That occurred under the Keating government in the 1990s. So let us bring the facts into the debate.

I would like to raise, as part of our examination of transport matters, my very favourite subject—Badgerys Creek airport and what has been happening to it. I have objected to it, as the Minister for Transport and Regional Services, who is at the table, knows, since 1985, when it was first decided under a Labor administration. I will continue to object to it. However, I would like to see a little more honesty as to where we are going now.

Since this government came to office in 1996, we have experienced three—or is it four?—transport ministers. I well remember the then member for Hume, John Sharp, before he lost his area of responsibility, telling us we would have an airport up and running before the Olympics. I remember the next minister coming in and saying, `We're not going to have an airport up and running before the Olympics; we're going to have Holsworthy.' Then we had an investigation into Holsworthy, and that was wiped. We then went back to the $12 million EIS into Badgerys Creek. What do we see now? Under the current minister, we actually see nothing at all.

Before I came here tonight, I started to go through some of the press clippings from the last couple of months. I do not want to go back 12 months, which is ancient history, because then I would have to refer to all the core and non-core promises which this government seems adept at applying when people are starting to question what they are doing in administration. I would like to go back to as recently as 16 April. I am sure the minister will remember these statements. He promised, `Read my lips: it's going to be Badgerys Creek.' I refer to statements by the member for Lindsay, the Minister for Sport and Tourism, when she said that you, as a minister, were being run by your department, who seem to be gung-ho on Badgerys Creek without having an investigation. On 19 April, in the Canberra Times, the Prime Minister said he had spoken to his minister for tourism. He said, `I've had a few short words to her; I've had a discussion; therefore she'd better watch it.' I ask the question—and pose it to the minister at the table—as to how she got to administer a portfolio when she cannot even open her mouth on matters to do with her electorate.

It is important that those of us living in Western Sydney know where we are going. Time and again, we have had the government procrastinate on whether a decision is about to be made or not going to be made. We were told in April that it was imminent. We were told in May that it was definitely going to be coming through. Of course, we heard these same stories last year. Before the last election, a decision was going to come down before October, and then we had an election in October. Then we were going to have a decision from the government in March. That did not come forward. It must have been because there was an election in New South Wales and the government here was worrying about what would happen there, having regard to the rebound that would occur if they had made that decision.

Badgerys Creek should not be on. The people of Western Sydney do not want it. The people of Western Sydney do not need it. We believe that the whole of New South Wales neither needs it nor requires it. We also believe that not enough investigation has gone on, with current technology and current experiences, as to what the actual need of the transport system in New South Wales will be in the years 2008-10, which is when Badgerys Creek would be up and running if a decision was made now. We have already seen in the last 12 months the very fast train proposal come in. We have not yet seen an economic study which is going to tell us that, if the very fast train project gets up and running between Sydney and Canberra in the next couple of years, it could interfere with 10 per cent of the passenger services going out of Sydney airport.

We have not seen the evaluation of what the costing was going to be and how people would be affected by that. We have not seen an economic costing of what would happen if a $4 billion airport were to come into being and people in Australia were not using it, let alone the people coming in from overseas. Minister Fahey has said, `I think maybe we should have a smaller airport,' yet at the same time that he was saying that, Airport Economics, which is exposing the myths of Badgerys Creek and Sydney KSA, put together by Leon Warren, was launched by the Minister for Finance and Administration. John Fahey, the member for Macarthur, launched that in budget week, saying, `What a great document this man has put together for one of my constituents, and I am launching that on his behalf, and also representing the Campbelltown Anti-Airport Group Inc.'

What I am really saying to the minister is that we just cannot have government decision run by editorials. I do not believe that the people of Western Sydney are getting the correct information coming out to them. I was quite surprised, as recently as June, when the Sydney Morning Herald ran an editorial—and we do not often see an editorial in favour of us—saying that Badgerys Creek airport is really up the creek; that neither this government nor the minister know what they are doing; that Badgerys Creek is not an appropriate site for a second airport; nor is it clear that a second airport for Sydney is even needed. That editorial was quite extraordinary. (Time expired)