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Wednesday, 15 September 1971
Page: 1373

Mr BUCHANAN (McMillan) - The only reason I have risen to speak in this debate is because there has been such a spate of New South Wales representatives attempting to speak on matters about which they know nothing. I exclude the honourable member for KingsfordSmith (Mr Lionel Bowen) and the honourable member for Newcastle (Mr Charles Jones) who have had the benefit of their experience as members of the House of Representatives Select Committee on Aircraft Noise in coming to grips with this problem.

Mr Foster - And so has the honourable member for St George.

Mr BUCHANAN - Yes, 1 am sorry, and so has the honourable member for St George (Mr Morrison). That Committee did examine a lot of problems related to airports. The main point I want to raise is that it would be an absolute tragedy if we were to interfere with the Royal Australian Air Force base at Richmond. The members of that Committee had a look at the base. They had the advantage of being able to see the base and to talk to the personnel there. Some members of that Committee know something about the RAAF. Having been in the Royal Australian Navy it may surprise some honourable members to know that 1 have some background knowledge of the RAAF. We know that Richmond is a centre of absolutely vital importance to the defence of Australia, ft would be completely wrong for anyone to try to move this base from its present location and you could not operate at Richmond a joint civil and Air Force establishment as is done in Canberra. It is in a main strategic position to support the defence requirement of Sydney and Newcastle.

Mr Keating - What about Williamtown?

Mr BUCHANAN - Williamtown is a separate establishment. The honourable member does not understand. At Richmond we have a base on which the whole of our logistics depend. If Richmond is to be used as a site for a second airport we would have to include the area used by the agricultural college. This is another reason why there would be interference to something that is already contributing greatly to the welfare of the people of Australia. In taking a decision on the location of a second airport we should bear in mind the position of the mountains. People who have studied civil aviation know that they cannot put in a flight path in the area of the Blue Mountains and aviation authorities are reluctant to have approach and take-off runways in the direction of mountains.

As we are considering in this debate the future development of civil aviation I want to register a vote of gratitude to the personnel of the Department of Civil Aviation. It was wrong for honourable members to suggest that these people had wasted time, had not known what they were doing, and were not serious in examining this proposal. Anyone who has had any dealings with them will know that these officers have examined the' whole situation thoroughly and have done everything possible to examine every aspect. It is wrong to suggest that members of the Parliament would be able to do the technical work involved in imposing a possible runway pattern on an area of 'land and in determining whether such an area was suitable. Officers of the Department have devoted hours of diligent work in trying to determine the most suitable place for an airport. Places like Duffy's Forest, which seems to worry the honourable member for Robertson, (Mr Cohen), are not big enough. Insufficient land is available. Sydney is handicapped because its terrain is unsuitable.

It may be that the second airport should be located at Dubbo, but such a proposal would be in the distant future. However if members opposite suggest its location at Dubbo, why do they not suggest establishing the airport at Broken Hill and making a job of it? In that way something real would be done to aid decentralisation. The honourable members for Grayndler (Mr Daly), St George (Mr Morrison) and Kingsford-Smith want the airport located away from their areas. They want to inflict the airport on the people of Dubbo. This is a crazy attitude. What would the people of Dubbo say in future years about those members who inflicted aircraft noise on them? I am most conscious of aircraft noise and have done much work in trying to reduce the effects of such noise. I believe the Government is following the right course. When the Government has said that the noise problem will be reduced, it has meant it. The Government's claims are based on facts and on technical information which are available to anyone who studies the subject. The noise value of the 747 aircraft is less than that of the 707 aircraft and future aircraft will be made even less noisy. I cannot understand why those honourable members from New South Wales whose electorates are affected by operations from the Sydney airport do not have the gumption to allow the curfew to be lifted at Mascot.

Mr Keating - Why should they?

Mr BUCHANAN - The whole thing is simple. At terrific expense runways are being extended into Botany Bay. Much thought went into this project and the whole proposal was calculated. If those runways are used the people of Marrickville will not be worried by noise, so why should the curfew be not lifted on the condition that aircraft take off and land over the Bay? The proper place for the extension of the Mascot Airport is Towra Point. This is so obvious. I am not worried about whether Mr Gorton and the honourable member for Cook (Mr Dobie) have some feelings on this because that is unimportant. The second airport should be at Towra Point and it could be run in conjunction with Mascot.

Mr Uren - Does Mr McMahon say that?

Mr BUCHANAN - No, of course not. The Mascot Airport has been developed at enormous cost and as a result of considerable technical determination. A magnificent job has been done in taking advantage of every bit of ground available and work has proceeded under extreme difficulty. Already there are 2 cross runways. It is no good members opposite talking of parallel runways as something new. 1 have known about parallel runways for probably the last 8 to 10 years. Plans for those runways were shown to members of a parliamentary committee which was examining proposals for extensions to the Mascot Airport and for the development of the international terminal building. Parallel runways have been provided as has a new control system for air traffic. Further parallel runways could be constructed at Towra Point and flight operations could be directed by the existing control system. In this way the problem would be solved.

Some people will be inconvenienced no matter where the airport is located but fewer people will be inconvenienced if parallel runways are provided across the Bay at Towra Point. Aircraft could take off and land over Botany Bay or over the sea. This is the sort of thinking that must be examined. I hope that the committee which investigates the proposal will examine conditions at a place like Hong Kong where the problem of annoyance to people has been overcome. No-one wants to annoy people. If the New South Wales members - those members from Grayndler, Kingsford-Smith and St George - are dissatisfied, let Australia's No. I international airport be Tullamarine. I would be quite happy if that were the position. Sir Henry Bolte is quite happy to ensure that there will be no building development around Tullamarine where there is ample space. Qantas Airways Limited has located its headquarters in Melbourne and I hope it has sufficient sense to use Tullamarine as the appropriate place for bringing people to Australia by international flights.

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