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Thursday, 31 March 1966

Mr COPE (Watson) .- Mr. Deputy Speaker,the first matter that I wish to raise concerns the effect on certain of my constituents and their homes of the noise nuisance and vibration caused by aircraft taking off from and approaching Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport, which is contained almost wholly in my electorate of Watson. Since I was elected to this Parliament nearly 1 1 years ago, I have received numerous complaints about this problem. Some time ago, representatives of the Municipal Councils of Botany, Randwick, Marrickville and Rockdale met in conference to discuss the matter. The result was the issuing of a unanimous protest at the excessive noise to which the local residents are subjected.

Several months ago, I was present at a well attended public meeting organised in the West Pagewood area by some of my constituents to direct attention to, inter alia, the noise nuisance and vibration effects emanating from the vicinity of the Airport. The meeting unanimously resolved that I be requested to seek the agreement of the Minister for Civil Aviation to receive a deputation representing the views of the gathering. Consequently, I wrote to the present Minister for Supply (Senator Henty), who was then Minister for Civil Aviation, and asked him to receive a deputation. He replied to the effect that he would accede to the request and grant an interview for a date which was to be fixed and which would be on his first visit to Sydney. However, owing to the retirement of Sir Robert Menzies and the reshuffle of ministerial portfolios, a new Minister was appointed to the Civil Aviation portfolio. I wrote to the new Minister for Civil Aviation (Mr. Swartz) pointing out that his predecessor had agreed to receive a deputation in Sydney. The honorable gentleman replied stating that he would interview a deputation but that the meeting would have to be in Canberra as he would not be available in Sydney between the end of the present sessional period and the beginning of the Budget sessional period later this year.

I immediately communicated with Alderman Tobin of the Botany Municipal Council who had been appointed by the public meeting that I have mentioned to lead the deputation. I inquired from him whether it would be possible for members of the deputation to come to Canberra for the interview and I received the reply that I fully expected. In simple words, it was that some of the members of the deputation were plain, ordinary working people and could not afford to lose a full day's pay in addition to paying fares. It seems to me that the Minister adopted a most unreasonable attitude in not making an hour or two of his time available in Sydney to receive the deputation and listen to the views of the people of the Pagewood area about vibration effects and noise emanating from the Kingsford-Smith Airport.

I should like to devote the remainder of my time to matters that concern age and invalid pensioners. Yesterday, a direct question was put to the Prime Minister by my colleague, the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) and evasive tactics were employed by the Prime Minister in giving an answer. The question and answer are recorded in "Hansard" as follows -

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