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Wednesday, 15 September 1971
Page: 1374

Mr REYNOLDS (Barton) - I imagine that I could not have a better pamphlet to distribute at the next election campaign than the speech just rendered by the honourable member for McMillan (Mr Buchanan). I imagine that his colleague the honourable member for Cook (Mr Dobie) will be particularly grateful for the honourable member's continued support for the development of Towra Point.

Mr Buchanan - You must use some sense in this matter.

Mr REYNOLDS - Well, let the honourable member tell that to his colleague, the honourable member for Cook and see what he has to say about the development of Towra Point. I do not intend to delay the House for long but 1 must speak on behalf of the thousands of people I represent in the electorate of Barton and on behalf of my colleagues in this House against the Government's procrastination over this business. This has been a fob-off from go to whoa. The House of Representatives Select Committee on Aircraft Noise was set up in the latter part of 1968 and now the Government plans to establish yet another commitee. The Government should not think that the people in these areas are fools. The people recognise what the Government is doing - that it is just procrastinating, prolonging and fobbing-off the decision in the hope that it will get through yet another election without making a commitment on this matter. I can assure honourable members opposite that with the assurance that there will be a duplication of runways at Mascot, they can forget about winning electorates in the metropolitan area of Sydney. What the honourable member for McMillan does not recognise is that even the present runway extension of 13,000 feet does not mean that there will be any relief from the use of the east-west runway. The report indicates that there could be a proportionately increased use of the east-west runway by aircraft that will be using Mascot Airport. I grant honourable members opposite that the only predictable relief predicted will be during the night curfew hours between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. More planes will be taking off and landing over the Botany Bay approach.

What the honourable member for McMillan is suggesting - it would be interesting to know how many of his colleagues support his view - is that because so much money has been spent on Mascot, it can be economic only if it is used 24 hours a day. Is that the view of the Government? This is what the people who are affected by this problem want to know. If what the honourable member has said represents the view of the Government, at least we know where we stand in the matter. But what the honourable member does not take into account is that we are concerned not only with the matter of noise. Other important factors are associated with this problem.

The people who live in these densely populated areas close to the airport have the ever constant worry in their mind that if one of these big aircraft crashed a terrible tragedy would occur. It would be a pity for this to happen and then for us to say: 'Well, we should not have acquiesed to the proposal'. I think of some of the institutions in my electorate. Never mind about the residential areas. I bring to mind some of the major institutions in my electorate and in the adjoining electorate of St George. I think of the St George District Hospital with, at any time, in excess of 1,000 patients in it. I think of the St George Technical College with more than 1,000 students attending it at any one time. I think also of the densely populated area of Brighton-le-Sands and the districts surrounding it.

The other matter to be considered is that of property values. What do honourable members think that this decision will mean for people who own properties in the areas close to Mascot Airport? What chance has any person who intends to leave the district - who intends to retire perhaps into the salubrious electorate of my colleague, the honourable member for Robertson (Mr Cohen) - of selling his or her property? What chance has such a person when it is known that the east-west and north-south runways are to be duplicated? What will happen to the value of the property owned by such people?

What will happen to the schools in the area, for ever battling against the ever constant noise that interferes with lessons in their classrooms? What about the position with regard to church services? Local congregations have protested to me since 1 first entered this Parliament. My colleague, the honourable member for St George (Mr

Morrison) was good enough to quote from what I said in the first speech that I delivered in this Parliament in 1959. I then beseeched the Government not to continue with further development of Mascot but to seek some other site outside the metropolitan area.

At that time, I nominated Richmond. I mentioned Richmond because what is involved is not only a matter of ground space but also a matter of air space. The trouble is that, with the Royal Australian Air Force located at Richmond, the possible sites for a second airport in Sydney have been inhibited. Personally, I would ask that the RAAF be shifted from Richmond. Such a move would extend the range of possible areas in which a second airport could suitably be located.

I am worried and my constituents are worried by the prolonged delay over this decision. The decision on the location of the second airport for Sydney should have been made at least 5 years ago. We should not have gone on with the development that has taken place. We should be well on the way to the establishment of Sydney's second airport by now. Instead of that, we will have this saturated development of an area of 1,600 acres. This area will be the site of absolutely saturated development in which the Government will get the last drop that can possibly be squeezed out of that area which is situated so close to so many of the heavily populated areas of our city.

As the Government has gone as far as it has and as it has delayed a decision as long as it has, I beseech it even at this late stage to reach an early decision on the location of the second airport for Sydney. The important thing is that, once having made its decision the Government should get on with the job of building the second airport. In his speech, the Minister for National Development (Mr Swartz) indicated that it will be some time in the 1980s before relief is provided to the people in the areas surrounding KingsfordSmith Airport. In that time, not only the people in the electorates of Barton, St George and Kingsford-Smith but people in approach areas on the north shore and in the eastern suburbs will be affected. The problem is not confined to the immediate areas around the airport.

So, I make this plea: Let people count before planes. Let the environment for people and their well being count for more than bringing people into the heart of Sydney a few minutes earlier than they might otherwise have arrived there. I do not wish to delay the House unduly but let me repeat what I have said before: The need is not for a major airport to be located so close to Sydney. The Minister has said that Mascot is ideally situated. I wonder in whose terms it is ideally situated. Let the Minister conduct a poll of all of those people - the thousands of them, not an insignificant number - who live close to the metropolitan area of Sydney to determine whether they believe that Mascot is ideally situated. It may be ideally situated for people who pour into Sydney from other Australian cities or from overseas. It may be ideally situated for those people but they are not required to live in the area day and night. These people come in once or twice in a year perhaps. To those who live in the area all the time the decision announced tonight is a most unfortunate one. The delay is most unfortunate also.

So, I can give this assurance: There will be great resistance if the Government has in mind anything along the lines of the view presented by the honourable member for MacMillan. If the Government has any idea of lifting the curfew to introduce services 24 hours a day into and out of Mascot, it will strike mighty resistance. I will not mind being associated with that resistance. I do ask the Government to get on with the job, to make a decision and to start work on the building of the second airport so that the people in my electorate and surrounding areas may obtain relief.

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