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Monday, 9 September 1996
Page: 3081

Senator TAMBLING (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport and Regional Development)(6.02 p.m.) —I would like to comment on this amendment as proposed by Senator Margetts, which would impose a very significant ANEF noise level if the measurement is taken at the 20 ANEF level. The government will certainly be opposing this proposed amendment.

When taken with other amendments to be moved by Senator Margetts, this amendment would create expectations of potential acoustic insulation treatment of buildings over an unreasonably wide area. I heard Senator Margetts refer to the area around Leichhardt where she obviously wanted to move the areas just by several streets, but let me point out and illustrate that the number of people living within the current 20 ANEF zone around Sydney airport is estimated to be between 75,000 and 100,000. If all the residences and public buildings were to receive acoustic insulation the cost would be likely to run to between $1 billion and $2 billion, which would need to be passed on to the travelling public.

The Labor Party established, and we agree with the policy, that it is not the airport operator that pays for noise but the airline. We need to avoid placing a burden on a party that cannot control it. I am sure that Senator Newman, who is sitting here with me this evening, would be horrified to learn of this figure of $1 billion to $2 billion that would be required for the insulation material at a time when the needs of both public housing and the wider community just cannot be met.

A general policy of acoustic insulation of buildings to the 20 ANEF contour has no precedence at major airports elsewhere in the world. The overall level of aircraft noise experienced by the population and the 20 ANEF contour is not out of line with the levels of noise which the population at large experiences from other sources. For example, OECD figures suggest that 46 per cent of the Australian population are exposed to road transport noise equivalent to the 20 ANEF measure. For that reason, I think it is important that this amendment be not supported.