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Wednesday, 15 September 1971
Page: 1365

Mr DALY (Grayndler) - Some years ago a former Liberal Party member of this Parliament, when the question of aircraft noise was under discussion, made this astounding statement in respect of those people who live near aerodromes: 'If you elect to live near a pig sty you cannot complain about the stink'. That is precisely the line of argument that has been followed by the honourable member for Mitchell (Mr Irwin), who has just resumed his seat, and other supporters of the Government who have participated in this debate tonight. The Government has in effect said that anybody who built a home near a possible aerodrome site years before the aerodrome was contemplated now has to put up with the inconvenience and everything else that goes with aircraft noise.

I listened to the remarks of supporters of the Government who took part in the debate tonight. What a weird and wonderful collection they were. First we had the honourable member for Cowper (Mr Robinson), who lives on the north coast of New South Wales. He is one of the people whom the aeroplanes carry over my electorate at midnight and keep half the population awake. Having to look at him in the day time is bad enough, but fancy being woken up for him in the evening! It would be a different matter of course if the aeroplanes were zooming low over the dairy farms of the north coast of New South Wales and the cows stopped giving milk. There would be a revolution in the Australian Country Party. But these aeroplanes can fly over homes in residential areas at any time and nothing is said about them.

Then we had the honourable member for North Sydney (Mr Graham), who lives in the splendour and the wealth of the North Sydney atmosphere - Kirribilli and the harbour. He is probably sleeping his head off every night while the people who live in my electorate are kept awake because the Liberal-Country Party Government is doing what the honourable member for Kingsford-Smith (Mr Lionel Bowen) said it is doing, namely, destroying the living conditions of people because of the development of the aerodrome at Mascot. As for the honourable member for Mitchell, one thing is certain and that is that when the Richmond aerodrome becomes a civil aerodrome he will not be with us any more for the simple reason that people do not settle down in harmony alongside those people who allow aeroplanes to be brought into their district. He will find there will be plenty of electors there but they will have a Labor member of Parliament simply because people are fed up with the kind of thing that is happening with the development of Mascot aerodrome.

I speak tonight as the pioneer of the campaign against aircraft noise in this Parliament. On 9th September 1953, a time when Mascot aerodrome was in my electorate, I presented a petition to the Parliament. Hansard of that date records:

Mr DALYpresented a petition from certain residents of Mascot, New South Wales, praying that action be taken by the Department of Civil Aviation to alleviate danger and noise from lowflying aircraft in that vicinity.

That was 18 years ago. On 21st October 1953 I made a further speech in which I said:

I realise that Mascot is an area over which it is natural to expect to see low-flying aeroplanes, but the fact remains that the residents of the streets concerned have regarded the matter so seriously as to petition this Parliament to take appropriate action, which might include redirecting aircraft by other routes so that they would not pass over this residential area.

I followed that up with a further speech during the 1953-54 Estimates debate. So tonight I speak with some knowledge of the subject. At that time honourable members laughed when I spoke of low-flying aeroplanes over Mascot. They asked: 'Where else would they fly low?' Since that time it has become a major problem; then they were small aircraft. Tonight we find the report of a committee established in 1969 being tabled and, as the honourable member for Kingsford-Smith said, it does not make any definite findings other than to recommend the expansion of Mascot aerodrome. But the Government is appointing another departmental committee. Having read this report I personally invite every member of the Committee to spend a week at my expense under the flight path of the aeroplanes leaving Mascot. I defy them not to find that everything in this report is false. The expansion of the Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport is a public scandal and only a dilatory, worn out and discredited government like this would think of expanding it.

Let us look at the map that is presented of the Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport and the estimated noise exposure forecast. About one-third of my electorate disappears simply to enable Ansett and others to fly into the air at any hour of the day or night. Look at the electorate of KingsfordSmith and others. It is not so much the effect on the electorate as such as the fact that the Department of Civil Aviation is working on a strange theory. As the honourable member for Kingsford-Smith said, the Department does not want to shift the aeroplanes; it says: 'Let the people shift'. There are 125,000 people in my district and some half of them would be expected to move out. More than half a million people are involved in the electorates surrounding the Kingsford-Smith aerodrome and yet the committee says we should spend more and expand the aerodrome. The Department of Civil Aviation has a policy which deserves a full investigation by the Minister. It spends millions of dollars on aerodromes and when someone says that an aerodrome ought not be in a particular area the Department says: 'We have spent too much money; we cannot waste the money that is there'. That is the thin edge of the wedge and it is a negative approach to great problems facing the establishment of aerodromes in this country.

I heard the honourable member for Mitchell say that it is the public interest which is involved. Have not people who live in the proximity of aerodromes and who were established there before aeroplanes became what they are today any rights, any civil liberties or any right to say that their mode of living should be protected? Why do not some honourable members go to the 99 hospitals that the honourable member for Kingsford-Smith and the honourable member for St George (Mr Morrison) mentioned and see the people there? Why do they not visit the Reverend Hawkins' homes in my district and hear planes flying over. The Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) stood up at one of those homes one day and made what I consider for him to be not a really bad speech, but he had to pause again and again as Qantas and others flew their aeroplanes just above his head. His golden voice was stilled as we all shuddered at the aircraft noise caused by Mascot aerodrome being where it is and the flight paths being over those homes. But the Minister is young and strong and vigorous. What about the poor old souls who were listening to him? This was happening in the daytime but at night one can go to any church in the Leichhardt, Marrickville and Newtown areas, particularly Leichhardt, and find services being interrupted. Not only that but also shift workers and others find that their sleep is affected and industry disorganised as well as the schools and other instrumentalities. Yet the Government says that it will continue to expand this aerodrome.

Why is it that there has to be an aerodrome at Mascot? People fly 12,000 miles across the world and then expect to be in Martin Place the minute they step out of the aircraft. That does not happen anywhere else in the world. The committee said in its report that aerodromes are 40, 30 and 27 miles out from the cities in other countries. I think there is a lot to be said for the establishment of aerodromes in Dubbo and places like that. Any government which is looking ahead a bit, any government but this Government which has not a thought in its head, would know that expressways have to be built out to aerodromes. People cannot expect to land right in the centre of the city when they fly across the world. Quite frankly if they have enough money to fly across the world they can afford a taxi into the city from an aerodrome 30 miles out from the city. But why should all the people in my district stay awake just because some person comes into the State for a few minutes? I am a bit with Bolte; I think we can tax them as much as we like because, as he has worked out, those whom he is taxing have not a say in his government and those who come to Mascot and get into another plane will not affect any electorate here. So let them put up with the a bit of inconvenience.

It is not only the development of Mascot that matters so much but also what goes on within the confines of the aerodrome as it is today. A curfew has been imposed. I wonder whether honourable members know that that curfew applies only for actual flying time. An aircraft is like a runner. Before a race he has to warm up a bit; and so do those aeroplanes. I lie awake in the early hours of the morning and listen to the hum of Ansett's aeroplanes as he sets out to make a few more million dollars. Everybody in Marrickville lies awake listening to the hum of these aeroplanes 3 or 4 miles away. Then at holiday times at 2 o'clock in the morning the airlines have to fly school kiddies or some people or other because that is the only time they can go. The real reason they are flying then is that Ansett and others are applying pressure on the Government to allow them to do so. They want to make money and they put these services on in the early hours of the morning, not caring at all for what the people are suffering underneath the flight path. The honourable member for McMillan (Mr Buchanan) who is interjecting has no sympathy for these people at all because he is one who recommended the lifting of the curfew in Melbourne not so long ago. I personally invite him to be my guest right under the flight path when aircraft take off in the early hours of the morning. Then he will see what is doing.

The Government states that there is a huge investment involved at Mascot aerodrome and because there are millions involved we cannot possibly shift the aerodrome. What it will do is build parallel runways, as was mentioned here tonight. The honourable member for Cowper - he is not a good authority and it is not a good thing to quote him, I suppose, but at least he took part in the debate - said that aircraft can come in over the sea. But he does not realise that to get round so that they can come in over the sea they have to zoom over Leichhardt, Marrickville and electorates such as Kingsford-Smith and Phillip. Consequently, people are affected no matter what is done. I will go so far as to say, as has been said here tonight, that this committee is just a delaying process, a put off job to allow for a few more million dollars to be spent to make it more difficult to shift the Kingsford-Smith aerodrome. Consequently we can say at this stage that the Government has no plans whatever for the future development of aerodromes in this country. Therefore, when honourable members opposite complacently say. that it does not matter let me remind them that there are about half a million people in the proximity of Mascot aerodrome who are very concerned with this matter.

Apart from the great qualities of the honourable member for St George and his magnificent intellectual approach to the great problems of this country, one thing which helped him to win his electorate was that the electors knew they had a man who would fight against aircraft noise and the disabilities people suffer under it. As for the former member for St George, Mr Bosman, it was terribly sad that he took a flight with Air Japan or some other airline on the eve of the election because this issue in electorates is a vital one and it is one which no government can discard. Apart from the politics involved surely people are entitled to live in a reasonable measure of security from this kind of disturbance during the day or the night. Surely people are entitled to some comfort in their homes. We talk about getting rid of pollution and all these things. What is more important than the health of citizens, their right to sleep at night, their right to carry on their employment without being interrupted and the right for churches and schools to carry on their work? . Surely we cannot ignore the rights of thousands upon thousands of people because aircraft companies want to have aerodromes right in the heart of Sydney.

I think the report that has been brought down should be rejected or sent back for further consideration by the committee. What is wrong with putting some parliamentarians, who know the practical problems, on one of these committees? These are all departmental committees, probably all appointed by the boss even though the Minister signs his name to the appoint ments to them. We are getting reports on great problems from public servants who are without a real knowledge of what is being done.

On the question of the Mascot aerodrome, I wonder if the evidence shows that these people have sat down to see what has been caused by noise to people's lives. Have they sat under the flight paths? Have they studied the kind of districts that the flight paths go over? Do they realise that in this area of 1,600 acres it will be practically impossible to move for aeroplanes as time goes by, because it is not sufficient? The big Pan Am aeroplane that crashed not so long ago because a bird got into an engine crashed within 900 feet of one of the most heavily populated areas in my district. Had it run another 900 feet there would have been a great and serious loss of life. Yet this Government says that we are to spend millions on expanding this airport. The DCA says that it has to be done. Evidently there are not too many in the Department who think too much, either.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - If it were so close to Packer's house it would be different.

Mr DALY - The honourable member says that if it went so close to Packer of the 'Daily Telegraph' it would be different. You can bet your boots that the Ansetts and others live a long way from these centres. Yet here today we find a government endorsing a report which proposes to set up another committee and throws out a couple of suggestions as to where Sydney's second airport might be established. Significantly the Government has put into this debate honourable members who are not affected by aircraft noise. No honourable member from the other side of the House who has spoken has any intimate knowledge of what has actually happened in relation to this matter.

I did not bring my files to the Parliament tonight. Quite honestly, I would nearly want a truck to carry them in, so many complaints have I got. The complaints 1 receive are mounting. I receive complaints about television being affected and about the effect on people's sleep all because an aerodrome that was meant for Moths and small engined aircraft in days gone by is now being turned into a monster terminal by this Government because its administrators are too lazy or are not intelligent enough to find another centre for an airport. With other honourable members on this side of the Parliament 1 condemn the proposal and I congratulate the honourable members for Newcastle (Mr Charles Jones), Kingsford Smith and St George for the devastating way in which they have ripped to ribbons this report presented by the Government, which has completely repudiated its responsibility to protect the lives of people by allowing this airport to be continued and expanded.

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