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Thursday, 29 October 1970

Mr MORRISON (St George) - by leave - As a member of the Select Committee on Aircraft Noise I would like to associate myself with the expressions of appreciation to the Chairman of the Committee, the honourable member for McMillan (Mr Buchanan) and the staff. In his statement the Chairman said that Australia has been in the vanguard of world wide efforts to reduce aircraft noise. I have the utmost respect for the honourable member for McMillan but I beg to differ with him on this point. For instance, the United Kingdom some 12 years ago introduced a plan of noise monitoring at Heathrow Airport and a large number of international airports have regulations affecting aircraft noise which are far more stringent than those currently in operation in Australia. To my mind the interests of people living in the vicinity of airports is running a very poor second to the interests of airline operators. This is particularly true in view of the Government's refusal to carry out one of the recommendations relating to the curfews made in an earlier report of the Aircraft Noise Committee.

Recomendation 12 of the interim report which was tabled last June very clearly stated:

.   . criteria authorising jet movements in curfew hours be applied more stringently to ensure the preservation of the original intention of the regulation.

It seems to me that we are paying only lip service to this recommendation. 1 appeal to the Government and the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) to act in accordance with that recommendation of the Aircraft Noise Committee. The honourable member for Newcastle (Mr Charles Jones) has indicated the limitations under which members of the Committee operated because the terms of reference were not expanded in accordance with an amendment moved by the Opposition to include an inquiry into the siting of airports. What we on this Committee have had to do is deal with the effects rather than the causes and this has been a limitation we have all felt. A further difficulty that has become apparent in recent months is the possibility of duplication of runways at Mascot. I am sure I speak on behalf of my colleagues, the honourable member for Barton (Mr Reynolds), the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly), and the honourable member for Kingsford-Smith (Mr Lionel Bowen), when I say that we on this side of the House are diametrically opposed to the duplication of runways at Mascot.

There is this great problem of Sydney requiring a second airport. A second airport is essential because if one looks at the situation from the traffic point of view there will be a saturation of aircraft movements at Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport in the very foreseeable future. That is one point. But before we have that situation of saturation of aircraft movements, the people in my electorate of St George will be saturated by aircraft noise. I would like to refer to recommendation 19 of the report now before us. It states:

Monitoring of aircraft noise should be introduced in Australia with Sydney airport as a first priority.

In recommending the introduction of monitoring, in the first instance at Kingsford-Smith Airport, we look to the development of an effective procedure of requiring pilots and operators te conform to standards that will substantially reduce the present level of noise. There is a disconcerting variation in the noise made by the same type of aircraft under similar flying conditions. Hitherto, economy and safety have been the main criteria of operations, but one would hope that henceforth safety, noise abatement and economy in that order will constitute the criteria.

In the report we have recognised the necessity for an experimental period in setting up a noise monitoring system. Many problems have to be resolved. We have to get our criteria straight; we have to know what we are doing. I urge the Department of Civil Aviation to give this recommendation the highest of priorities so that the experimental work may be carried out quickly and effectively. I hope that the noise limit that will be set will be based on the premise of minimising the discomfort of thousands of people living in my electorate and the other electorates adjacent to Sydney Airport. 1 feel that as members of Parliament we should be concerning ourselves with pointing out that progress should not feed on the sacrifices of the people. We have heard a lot about how progress is assisting in the development of Australia. But after all. Australia is only Australians. When technological progress detrimentally affects the lives and amenities of people, it is about time we had a good look at the criteria on which we judge progress. 1 commend the report to the House, particularly to the Minister for Civil Aviation, and I hope that it is not a vague hope that the Minister for Civil Aviation will lose no time in effectively implementing the major recommendations of the report.

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