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Thursday, 30 September 1971
Page: 1815

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Corbett - Order! I think that the honourable member for Kingston is getting wide of the mark. I have extended leniency to him in view of what has gone on before, but I believe that he should return to the Bill before the House and to the amendment which has been moved.

Dr GUN - Once again, Mr Deputy Speaker, I should like to draw your attention to article 44 in the Schedule. This matter was gone into at some length by members of the Opposition in determining the scope which discussion of this Bill could take. I ask you to show in your rulings on this question the same leniency which you have extended to other honourable members. I pointed out that there has been considerable discussion on the site for the second airport for Sydney, and I believe that what happens at the Adelaide airport is of no less importance to the people whom I represent than is the Sydney airport to the people in that area. Article 44 of the Schedule deals with the aims and objectives of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, and two of those aims and objectives are to:

(c)   Encourage the development of airways, airports, and air navigation facilities for international civil aviation;

(d)   Meet the needs of the peoples of the world for safe, regular, efficient and economical air transport.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -I realise that that matter could be discussed if you had the right to discuss the principal Act in full, but the ruling I gave was that the debate should conform to the rules for second reading debates and that a general, discussion of a matter in the principal Act which is not referred to in the Bill should not be permitted unless it is relevant to an amendment which has been moved to the second reading. That was the basis upon which I gave my ruling. I have given the honourable member for Kingston a reasonable chance to develop his argument and to bring it back to the Bill and the amendment before the House.

Dr GUN - This matter is of great importance if we are going to consider the possibilities of having an international air facility at the Adelaide airport. This matter is relevant to the Bill and I want to discuss its implications for Adelaide airport. I point out that similar latitude was shown to the honourable member on the Government side who preceded me in this debate.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - He spoke for only a short time. I ask you to come back to the Bill and to the amendment.

Dr GUN - Very well, Sir. I was saying that there are certain recreational areas near the Adelaide airport which are of great importance and that the extension of the south western runway might have required the acquisition of certain houses. Stories were circulated, and they did not come publicly from the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton). In fact, I first read of them in an article in a newspaper in my electorate. The editor of this newspaper was unwilling to disclose the source of the information, and it was perfectly proper for him to do so. That was his prerogative. But why could not the Minister have come out publicly and explained what was happening? I cannot understand why there has to be all this secrecy. The same thing could equally be said about the facility at Sydney. I do not know why we cannot have an open discussion in order to let the public and the Parliament know exactly what is happening.

One of the questions which I directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation referred to the effect on certain roadways of a proposed extension to the runway, if some of these large aircraft were to use the Adelaide airport. The Minister stated, amongst other things, that the Department of Civil Aviation was seeking an answer to an approach from the highways authority, when the authority was considering upgrading Tapley's Hill and Military Roads, and that that caused the review of possible airport needs at this time. What this means is that if there had not been any approach to the Department of Civil Aviation there would not have been any review - at least not for the present. The present examination is a limited one because it has been limited to considerations of the West Beach Airport itself and any reference to alternative sites in all the answers I have received has been expressed in very broad generalities.

I refer now to a question I asked the Minister. I asked what was the estimated capital cost of establishing a new airport terminal north of Adelaide. The answer I received was:

No estimate has been made but it would certainly cost lens of millions of dollars for the airport and its terminal facilities. In addition there would be a very heavy commitment by the State or local governments to provide high speed road access.

That answer suggests that not only is there no estimate for the airport - whether it is to be an international terminal or something else - but under this Government there will be no estimate. I should like to know why there is any element of secrecy. I have in mind another question I asked, lt reads:

Did the Department of Civil Aviation advise the West Torrens City Council to rezone certain areas adjacent to the West Beach Airport . . . 1 received a very long answer from the Minister and 1 will not take up the time of the House in reading it. I point out that 1 have not received a frank answer or really any answer at all to this question. I would like to know what advice was given to the West Torrens Council: what were the forecasts of noise exposure expected at the airport? This was referred to in the answer. I have had on the notice paper since the first day of this session a question requesting the noise exposure forecast but I have not yet received a reply. If these figures can be made available to local authorities why can they not be made readily available to this Parliament? After all I have been given the figures in relation to traffic movements in the past and the projected figures for these movements and 1 am pleased to have them. I hoped that the figures on noise levels can be provided because they are really more important than the traffic movement figures.

Another matter 1 want to know about is how much involvement there is by the Department of Civil Aviation in decisions on the choice of aircraft. This is a matter which has been raised by other honourable members during this debate. The Minister has told me previously when I asked him whether the Department would allow larger aircraft to use this airport that there is a general trend towards larger and usually quieter and more economical aircraft which may wish to use our capital city airports. He said that there are several types of aircraft under consideration by the domestic airlines but it is understood that their final selection and the proposed timing of their introduction has not yet been determined. What this means is that the decision making is left to the airlines themselves. How much consideration is given by the airlines to questions of noise? I hardly think that the noise levels will be a decisive factor in the decision of the airlines if quieter aircraft will cost the airlines money. I would like to be reassured that the Government involves itself in such decisions to ensure that the decision on new aircraft purchases will be made in the interests of all the public and not just the airlines and the relatively small number of people who travel on airlines.

My submission is that there must be a full inquiry into all possible contingencies. I am not necessarily advocating a select committee, although this has been brought forward by the honourable member for Newcastle. In the case of this particular facility we know that although we did have a committee inquire into it we have not yet had any decision on it. The Government would not agree to a public examination of alternative airport sites. I seem to remember a couple of Government supporters voting with the Opposition on the proposal for a public examination but it was still defeated by the Government. I would like to see a comprehensive analysis and publication of the findings in the form of a Government White Paper. This should be released to allow a full debate by the public and by the members of this Parliament before a final decision is taken by the Government. The same sort of thing has happened with the new London airport. I said that it should be a departmental inquiry because I believe we now know what we want to know. We need a cost benefit analysis of the alternative courses of action to decide whether we should on the one hand keep West Beach or on the other hand move the terminal, or have both. All these factors must be taken into consideration including the social factors as well as the economic factors. I believe that this can be done.

I would like to refer to another matter. I asked the Minister:

What objective criteria does the Department of Civil Aviation use when weighing the loss of open space, property values and human comfort from aircraft noise against the needs of airlines and air travellers?

The answer I received, amongst other things, was:

It is very doubtful whether it is possible to devise objective criteria along the lines suggested.

I do not agree with this. I believe that comparative studies can and must be made, using the techniques of programme and performance budgeting systems, either by using a fixed budget approach or a fixed utility approach. Under the fixed utility approach we can say which alternative method is likely to achieve a specific level of success in the pursuit of a given objective at lowest cost. Under the fixed budget approach we can say which of the alternative ways of spending a fixed amount of money will achieve the greatest level of success in the pursuit of a given objective? There are many aspects which we want investigated. If the present site is retained what will be the cost of extensions including acquisition of properties near the airport? To what extent will properties be devalued? This is what the Minister told me in reply to a question I asked him:

It is not necessarily correct to say that an airport reduces nearby land values. There is considerable evidence to the contrary,.

If there is considerable evidence I would like to see some of it. I would like to have an analysis of what will happen to property values. I have questions on the notice paper asking what evidence is available and I hope to get this information fairly shortly. If land values do drop we want to know what the cost will be to the public purse if nearby residents are to be bought out and will they be indemnified against the loss of their property values? What will be the cost of soundproofing homes, if this is necessary? What are the estimated noise levels? What are their effects? And so on. There should be an evaluation of moving the airport out of the metropolitan area in terms of money and in terms of social losses and gains. How much can be expected to be realised by subdivision and development of West Beach? What is the cost of establishing a new facility? What is the cost of establishing a transport corridor to give access to a new airport? Obviously some factors cannot be foretold but this does not prevent a comparison between 2 sites with other things being equal. And even on the imponderables there should be public discussion.

I am sure that many people would like to be kept -abreast of developments in reducing engine noise. We know what happened to the Rolls-Royce company. It went broke because of the large amount of research expenditure on trying to reduce engine noise in the RBI 11. We want to be kept up to date with what is happening about vertical take-offs. Perhaps if these things become more advanced they may be the critical points in the whole discussion. For that matter there may be less air travel. It is not unlikely that air pollution from aircraft could make us have second thoughts about the convenience of air travel. The same considerations apply to fuel reserves - non-renewable resources. The information that I have on the Concorde and the jumbo jet is that 4 flights a day have been projected for the future and in trans- A ti antic flights the Concorde and the jumbo would each carry 2i times its bodyweight in fuel with an annual consumption of 320 million metric tons of kerosene. How long will we be able to keep up with the consumption of that much fossil fuel? I would like to refer to an article in the magazine 'Interavia'. It reads:

It is very possible that tomorrow's busy executive will consider his time far too valuable to be frittered away on jammed-up approach roads or hanging about on overloaded airports - despite all the advantages offered by supersonic travel. Moreover, the rapid strides made in communications technologies suggest that in many cases the physical presence of an executive at business transactions may become superfluous. This will certainly be the case by the end of the century and possibly even earlier.

I suppose that we would all say that this would apply to the other fellow and not to us. But perhaps it may be us and it will not be very long before parliamentary sessions are held by way of communications. I can imagine myself sitting in my office and pressing a button. Mr Deputy Speaker would be sitting in the Chair and he would give me the call because my button light went on before that of the honourable member for Sturt (Mr Foster). It would be like Bob Dyer's buzzer and bell. I would get in first for a change. This is another consideration. Perhaps there will be less need for air travel in the future because of advances in communications.

I would like to see a great deal more detailed analysis of the various permutations and combinations of what is likely to happen to the Adelaide airport. I would like to see a great reduction in the secrecy surrounding this matter and 1 think that there ought to be a more open attitude by the Government on this matter. In this context let me point out something that I noticed in the Adelaide 'Advertiser' on Monday. 14th June of this year. It related to the formation of a protest body concerning the Adelaide Airport. The newspaper article said:

Speaking from Sydney last night Senator Cotton said the timing of the Department of Civil Aviation study of Adelaide Airport had mainly been influenced by inquiries from local highway authorities.

The significant words are: 'Speaking from Sydney last night Senator Cotton said*. My understanding, and I am pretty sure of it, is that at that date Senator Cotton was overseas. He had been overseas for some time before that and he did not get back until early in July. So someone is pulling someone's leg. I do not know who it is. I say that, because I hope that no-one is pulling anyone's leg too much over the future of Adelaide Airport.

I hope that some notice will be taken of what I have said. In the Estimates debate last year I spoke about the future of the Adelaide Airport. I have not any evidence at all that anybody took the slightest bit of notice of what I said. I have not received any communication from the Department or from the Minister. The Minister did not reply to what I said. I just wonder whether the Government is completely impervious to the problems and the long term thinking about the Adelaide Airport and about the convenience of the people who unfortunately have to live close to it. I support the amendment moved by my colleague the honourable member for Newcastle.

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