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Thursday, 30 September 1971
Page: 1811

Mr DALY (Grayndler) - I want to make a few well chosen remarks about the legislation before the House,, and you, Mr Deputy Speaker, may be assured that not in any way shall I contravene your wise rulings. I listened to the speeches of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam), the honourable member for Newcastle (Mr Charles Jones) and other honourable members and I am in complete agreement with those who believe that the Department of Civil Aviation has capitulated completely to the United States Civil Aeronautics Board in regard to the agreement concerning flights of 747 aircraft on the Pacific run. If anything was a shotgun arrangement it was the capitulation by the Department of Civil Aviation to the American authorities in regard to this matter. I agree with what the honourable member for Newcastle said at the time. Until such time as our 747 aircraft were allowed to use American airports no Pan American 747 should have been allowed to come into this country. That would have been a respectable and reasonable approach to the problem because when all is said and done our great and powerful friends stood over the Department of Civil Aviation and got away with murder and Qantas is suffering accordingly.

Qantas is a remarkable airline. It has been built up in this country after being established by a Labor government. It is a credit to this great nation and ranks as one of the major airlines in the world today. Yet we have it being told where it will fly and where it will not fly by authorities in America who have as much to lose as we have. I wonder what the American authorities or the Civil Aeronautics Board would have said if we had said that no Pan American 747 fights to this country would be allowed until Australia got the rights it sought in respect of aircraft of that type. I think they would have been brought to their knees. Instead we are the victims of standover tactics which bring little credit to the Department of Civil Aviation and our negotiators because they have capitulated in the face of threats which I think they should have stood up to.

Mr Charles Jones - It was the Government which capitulated.

Mr DALY - lt was in effect the Government. I think the Government is ashamed and a bit frightened of what it has done because the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) has never reported to the Parliament on this subject. It is easy for Senator Cotton to make a statement outside . this place but never has the Government come to the Parliament to make an announcement about this agreement. I do not say it was shady but certainly it was an indication of guilt over the tactics employed by the Government leading to the signing of these arrangements when it knew full well it could have done, a lot better. It is significant that throughout the dealings the Department of Civil Aviation . and the Government - this is what the honourable member for Chifley (Mr Armitage) and others were speaking about - never considered the interests and welfare of the people generally. No matter who the governmental authority is which is negotiating these matters, whether it be the flights of aircraft or the routes they shall follow, the Government seems to put second the interests of this country and the people in it. The honourable member for Chifley a few moments ago dealt specifically with Article 44 of the Schedule to the Air Navigation Act. It states that it is the Government's responsibility to encourage the development of airways, airports and air navigation facilities for international civil aviation and to meet the needs of the people of the world for safe, efficient and economical air transport as well as to prevent economic waste caused by unreasonable competition and a number of other major items closely connected with the operation of aircraft throughout the world.

But what do we find? Even in the establishment of airports the Government is found wanting. After it appointed a committee which sat for a long period and brought in a lengthy report, the Government did not reach any conclusion other than to say that it would set up another comittee to have a look at the first committee's recommendations. The first committee limited its recommendations for a second Sydney airport to two sites, Richmond and Somersby, and then the

Government authorised the new committee to have another look at the matter. Even the 'Daily Telegraph', the paper you can trust, had this to say about it:

The . Federal Government's decision to further develop Mascot Airport is sensible.

Then it went on to deal with the report and said:

But while accepting the wisdom of extending and developing Mascot, other aspects of the statement must be questioned. If it is known, and accepted, that a second airport must be built, then firm plans and time schedules should be formulated.

It seems a bit sloppy to propose a Commonwealth-State investigation to decide whether to have an airport at Richmond or Somersby, and then add that the Committees should also investigate any other areas that merited consideration.

I will tell honourable members why this is so. As was said by the honourable member for Chifley, this Government is busy protecting its own members. It cannot afford to lose a seat and the decision that was made protects the liberal members from the North Shore, the Gold Coast of Liberal politics in Australia, comprising electorates such as Bradfield, Mackellar, Bennelong, North Sydney and Warringah. Honourable members can see the interest which the honourable member for Mackellar, the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) takes in the proceedings now that aircraft will not be flying over his electorate. If he lived at Mascot or Leichhardt or Marrickville he would not be sleeping like he does at this time of the night because the jets would be zooming over that area. These Liberal members have brought pressure to bear on the Government to transfer these facilities elsewhere.

I mention this to show that in every aspect of civil aviation development the Ministers and the Government are found lacking. The interests of the Australian people are second as long as the Government can kowtow to the powerful interests behind the airline operators in the world today. I have received a heart rending letter from a member of my constituency and I will read it to the House in order to show the neglect and contempt that this Government has shown for people in Leichhardt, Marrickville and other areas in the great electorate which I represent in Sydney where, because of expansion of

Kingsford-Smith Airport and facilities there, aircraft are zooming low over their homes at all hours of the day and night. Listen to this letter Mr Minister and listen wisely. The Minister should think how guilty he and the men behind him are for the suffering they are bringing to the people of my district and surrounding districts. This letter came to me today dated 28th September 1971 and reads:

Dear Mr Daly,

Between 11.00 p.m. and 11.30 p.m. Monday 20th September 1971 and 11.00 p.m. and 11.30 p.m. last night, jet aircraft departed from Mascot and woke me up.

On both nights I 'phoned the airport and complained.

I would appreciate you - obtaining from the appropriate Minister an explanation why my family and I had to experience the two disturbances? - asking are these nights to be established on a regular basis thus flouting the curfew arrangement? - have it established with the Minister and members of his staff right down to the folk who take my calls at Mascot that

(a)   I am not a 'crank' or 'nui"

(b)   I like most people need a few hours uninterrupted sleep if I am to give of my best to the community and when abruptly awakened for no good purpose, I tend to be irritable.

May I add that the place where I work, i.e. 67 Lord's Road, Leichhardt, is directly under a Mascot flight path and every day whilst at my job I am subjected to the most frightful noises created by monstrous jet aircraft which fly very low overhead.

You may care to explain to the Minister that for me to obtain the relief I seek I would have to change my job and relocate my home. Neither of which J desire to do.

That man is one of thousands in the electorate of Kingsford-Smith, St George, Barton and Grayndler. They total roughly about half a million and they are vitally affected by the location of aerodromes and their expansion. Yet the Minister and the Government postpone making a decision only to suggest finally that the location of a new airport be in populous areas instead of moving it well out into the country areas and providing feeder services. But what does the Minister intend to do about the thousands of people who are affected? These include elderly and sick people in Leichhardt homes who are awake at night because the airlines want to make profits. The curfew is a colossal joke. In Melbourne aircraft are flying 24 hours a day and it is practically the same at Mascot. At holi day times, such as next weekend, at all hours of the day and night one will find aircraft flying in and out of Sydney's Mascot and other aerodromes simply because the airline operators say that the people want to fly and it is, therefore, only reasonable to allow them to do so. Let people fly within the curfew hours because they have no special rights.

The amazing thing about aircraft noise and airports generally is that a local council can put a man out of business if he creates a bit of noise in his backyard in a residential suburb. Yet jets can zoom over people's homes and destroy the living conditions of thousands of people and the Government says that nothing can be done about it. I would like to see somebody in this country test some of these operators in a court of law. I am pretty certain something could be done about it because there must be some protection for them similar to that given to residents by local councils under local government regulations. That is why we on this side of the Parliament not only support the amendment moved by the honourable member for Newcastle but also condemn the Government's dilatory approach to the general question of civil aviation in this country and its complete lack of planning in order to provide, under Article 44, the safety and the needs in regard to aircraft generally. The reason I rose tonight once again is to give expression to my views on the fact that the Government has no plan at all for the future. When parallel runways are constructed at Mascot into Botany Bay the areas adjacent to my electorate will be unlivable and I do not intend to sit in this Parliament and remain silent while this is happening to people of all ages who are vitally affected by this menace.

I hope that the Minister for National Development, before he resumes his seat after replying to the debate tonight, will give us the full details regarding the Government's capitulation to the demands by Pan Am over the Pacific route. I ask him to explain why he did not bring this matter to the Parliament and why the Government has a guilty conscience about it. It is ashamed of the proposals. I ask: For how much longer on everything from wool, wheat and the routes which aeroplanes fly is this Government going to bow down and go on its knees to the great American nation simply because it is frightened of the power which the Americans have? How long will it remain the Government if it just goes along and does not put up a fight for the things that Australians want?

But above all else, in the field of aircraft noise, the establishment of aerodromes and the future planning regarding them, this Government has a responsibility to tell the people now about these matters and to plan immediately to remove this menace from people in all walks of life. Tonight I join in the condemnation of the Government's attitude on this matter. We ask for a reasonable reply, not for a letter containing a number of pages. Every time I write to the Minister I receive a reply containing about 3 pages. I sit down for an hour or two to read it, but in the end I am no wiser than I was before because it is a put-off all the time. Therefore, I suggest to the Minister that on everything from aircraft noise to the routes which planes will follow, it is about time that the Department of Civil Aviation got up to date and with the Government's support did something for the people whom the Government has the responsibility to govern.

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