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Friday, 8 November 1985
Page: 1848

Senator MORRIS —Is the Minister representing the Minister for Aviation aware of the inordinate delays which often occur in flights to Sydney, caused by air traffic congestion at Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport? What progress is the Government making in resolving the growing air traffic problems at Mascot?

Senator GIETZELT —All Sydney passengers and, for that matter, Brisbane passengers who have to use Sydney Airport will be aware of the delays that continually take place in traffic leaving Canberra for Sydney and Brisbane, largely brought about by the traffic congestion occurring at Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport. Such congestion is a result of the indecision over many years of the Commonwealth Government regarding whether to build a second airport or to extend the existing airport at Mascot. It has to be said that Prime Minister Whitlam sought to advance that decision-making process by supporting the establishment of a second airport at Galston. That was not acceptable at that time. In the subsequent seven years of Liberal Government in Canberra no steps were taken to expedite a decision about whether the existing airport at Mascot should be extended and developed to accommodate traffic movement or whether a second airport site should be chosen.

This Government has made a definite commitment to make that decision. I believe that the decision will be to locate a second airport in the Sydney region. The decision is currently under examination. An environmental impact statement is being prepared in respect of the two principal sites, Badgerys Creek and Wilton on the outskirts of Sydney. Depending on the outcome of that statement, the Government hopes to be in a position to make a decision about the siting of Sydney's second airport before the end of the year. I think that it is a matter of public record that the councils in and around Mascot, whatever their political complexion, have all expressed opposition to any further extensions. Public opinion is overwhelmingly of the view that a second airport should be constructed. When the environmental impact statement is finalised, the matter will be discussed with the State Government, and a decision is expected to be made in a very short time.