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Wednesday, 15 September 1971
Page: 1376

Mr UREN (Reid) - Mr Deputy Speaker,this statement is long overdue, but its findings are disappointing. The interdepartmental committee was set up on 14th January 1969 and the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) has had its report since September 1970. In other words, he has been sitting on it for over a year. Now, the final decision rests between 2 proposals - Somersby and Richmond.

I do not profess to be an expert on where the second airport for Sydney should be located. We know that, with the progress of technology, aircraft have created great noise problems. The noise caused by aircraft is of concern to all progressive members in this House. Tonight, my colleagues, the honourable member for St George (Mr Morrison), the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly), the honourable member for KingsfordSmith (Mr Lionel Bowen), the honourable member for Barton (Mr Reynolds), the honourable member for Robertson (Mr Cohen), and, of course, the Federal spokesman for our Party on matters of civil aviation, the honourable member for Newcastle (Mr Charles Jones) have expressed their attitudes to the proposal.

I will not debate where the second airport for Sydney should be located. But, in my capacity as Federal spokesman for my Party on urban affairs, I am going to say where it should not be. The honourable member for Robertson has expressed strong criticism in regard to the proposal that the airport should not be located at Somersby. I do not know the details of this proposal but I do know the problems in planning urban affairs particularly in regard to the closer Sydney area. When I talk about the 'closer Sydney area' I refer to regions within 40 miles or 50 miles of Sydney.

In regard to Richmond, this is probably the best residential area in large quantity now available near Sydney. I think of the rolling hills of Kurmond and the lowe Kurrajong Heights area. I think of the land across from there to the Nepean River and the lower Blue Mountains and further to the Penrith area. In another direction, across to Blacktown, most of the area is virgin land. Sydney, above any other city in the whole of Australia, has a land crisis. Land values in Sydney are the highest of any city in Australia. They exceed by thousands of dollars the average cost of land in other States. The average price of a block of land in Sydney at the present time is $7,800.

We find that the ruling interest rate of the fringe banking institutions is 13 per cent or 13.5 per cent. We can imagine the struggle facing young people who wish to acquire a piece of land on which to build a home in which to rear a family. Therefore, I arn totally opposed to the proposal that the second airport for Sydney should be located at Richmond. This does not mean that my view will predominate over that of my Party. The policy of my Party is that the proposed department of Urban Affairs should act as a liaison body and will determine the siting of airports. Of course, we would be influenced greatly by the views of the Department of Civil Aviation and particularly those of my colleague the honourable member for Newcastle (Mr Charles Jones). We would work in close co-operation. I say quite clearly that I personally am opposed to the siting of an airport at Richmond.

The policy of my Party on urban affairs will be to maintain a liaison between the Department of Housing, the Department of Shipping and Transport, the Department of Civil Aviation, the Department of the Interior, the Department of Works, the Bureau of Roads and the Bureau of Transport Economics. As I see it Sydney will develop north-west from Blacktown across to the lower Blue Mountains to Kurmond where the rolling hills are and where it is proposed that the airport be situated. Sydney will also develop south-west - in other words, along the railway line and the Hume Highway towards Campbelltown and beyond. This matter must be examined in this way. It is the policy of the Labor Party to acquire large tracts of land on the fringes of Sydney to set up Belconnen type cities, such as we have in Canberra, with all the cultural, educational, artistic, aesthetic, sporting, recreational, commercial and industrial areas established so that workers can live within an area and be employed within the area without having to travel 25 and 30 miles to work, lt is for this reason that we are calling on the Government to heed the warning that a Labor government would strongly oppose the location of an airport at Richmond. To my mind noise pollution would destroy the area as it has the electorates of my colleagues who have spoken tonight.

We have to do some planning, but there is very little planning being carried out by the Government. In fact, we know that there is little co-operation between the Department of Civil Aviation and the New South Wales State Planning Authority or any other planning authority. Where in any way has the Commonwealth Government involved itself in urban planning? We have to look at the location of airports, and as far as I am concerned the location of an airport at Richmond is not acceptable. It would not be in the best interests of Sydney because, as this Government knows, Sydney is facing a dire crisis. It is in great difficulties because of the rise in land costs, and even greater difficulties would be created if the land within the Richmond area were used for the proposed airport. I understand that Richmond is the major priority with the Government, but it would inherit the already chaotic conditions of the Marrickville area and in the electorates of those honourable members on this side who have already spoken in this debate. We want to see the creation of cities in which the people can live in serenity and tranquility without being bothered by noise pollution caused by aircraft, irrespective of whether they are landing and taking off during the day or night. Of course, we realise that the Government's plans for a new airport provide that it will be functional for 24 hours a day. I have placed on record my attitude towards the establishment of an airport in the Richmond area. My opposition is total.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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