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Thursday, 20 October 1983
Page: 2025

Mr COLEMAN —by leave-This report of the Public Works Committee has been awaited by part of my electorate with a great deal of concern. The whole project has been a matter of controversy for some years. On the one hand it is an important defence development of Garden Island and on the other hand it affects the local amenity and has involved specially formed local groups who are concerned about the risks of noise, air pollution, odours and, indeed, effects on property values. The Potts Point association and other associations have been extremely active and vocal. There have been a series of meetings, letters, telexes, and some very strong words have been spoken.

I have to say to the honourable member for Lyne (Mr Cowan) that I am impressed by the work the Committee has put in not only on the project as a whole but also on the complaints of the local residents. This is not to say that the local residents will accept all the assurances that the Committee has given-they being the most directly affected will have some reservations. Nevertheless, it is clear that as far as noise from the facility is concerned the long investigations by the Committee and by its predecessors have attempted to assure residents that noise pollution is not the serious problem they considered it to be and that the controls introduced are adequate. Generally speaking, the same applies to the concern about air pollution, to the odour question and to the property values, although it is conceded by the Committee that some of the lower floors in some of the buildings will suffer some loss of value. That is a statement of opinion which I think will not be challenged.

We have a difficult situation. Certainly it is a difficult situation for me as the member for Wentworth. On the one hand, like all honourable members in this House and like all Australians, I am concerned to see that this defence facility and this defence establishment is modernised. On the other hand, I am concerned to see that local residents in one of the most beautiful parts of Sydney-I think it is fair to say one of the most beautiful parts of Australia-are not adversely affected. The Committee has assured us that all possible measures have been taken either to eliminate or to dramatically reduce the dangers feared. Its investigations have been extremely thorough and impressive. It remains to be seen whether they are as reliable as they appear to be.