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Wednesday, 15 September 1971
Page: 1369

Mr WENTWORTH (Mackellar) (Minister for Social Services) - The honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly) was in good voice tonight. He is seldom at a loss for words even if he does not very often say very much. I certainly sympathise with the members of his electorate. To have the honourable member for Grayndler and the aircraft together is indeed to be exposed to a fair degree of noise. I think that in looking at this question we should hope for - I think with some reasonable confidence - changes in aircraft techniques which will alleviate the problem which undoubtedly exists. The suppression of noise from aircraft is now under investigation and I believe that the noise will be very much lessened in the near future. One would hope also that the development of vertical take-off and short take-off aircraft which has been mentioned by my friend the honourable member for North Sydney (Mr Graham) in this House will come into focus and allow us to think pf these problems in a more constructive way. 1 think we should congratulate the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) on a balanced and constructive approach to these very real problems - and they are problems. To my way of thinking it is a very good thing that he has proposed now to have full co-operation between the Commonealth authorities and the authorities of New South Wales, because although aviation is within the Commonwealth's jurisdiction the airports we are talking about are in New South Wales and Government of New South Wales will have a very proper interest in their siting. I am very glad that its representatives have been co-opted on to this committee. When we speak of the Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport I think there is one thing we should keep in mind and that is that the development of that airport has brought along with it the development of Botany Bay as a port which may be tremendously important for the whole future of New South Wales. With the development of deep draught shipping, which was not foreseen even a couple of decades ago, Sydney Harbour is not adequate for the new circumstances. It may well be that the development of Botany Bay as a deep water port which has come into being with the development of the aerodrome will be of tremendous importance to the whole future economy of New South Wales.

I am glad that in this report the Government has rejected the idea of a further aerodrome at Towra Point. I think it would have been unwise and unfair to have put another aerodrome there, and that this is a wise decision. I am glad that for conservation and other reasons the Government has rejected the sites at Wattamolla and Duffy's Forest. The new aerodrome will be at Somersby, Richmond or perhaps some third site. I do not know whether Somersby would be the best site. Obviously there are technical considerations which I would not want to go into. But if Newcastle is to have its main airport at Williamtown, which will be accessible to the city when the new bridge is built, the attraction of Somersby to that extent might be lessened because the northern part of the area will be served from the Newcastle side. This seems to suggest that Richmond may be the best site. I am not impressed by talk about the mountains being too near. This may have been important in the old days, but with proper landing devices which are now available it does not have the same kind of importance as it would have had 10, 1 5 or 20 years ago.

Again 1 do not pretend to have a technical knowledge of this matter but it does seem to me that Richmond has certain advantages. Firstly, it is a proper distance from Sydney. By saying 'a proper distance' I mean that it is neither too near nor too far. It is important that it be not too far from Sydney; oherwise it cannot be developed as an alternative airport to the KingsfordSmith Airport which will take away the nuisance of night flying at KingsfordSmith. Honourable members know that very often the curfew must be broken for safety reasons. If there were an alternative airport near Sydney this would not be necessary and the position at Kingsford-Smith would be much improved.

I think that a second airport for Sydney has to be connected to Sydney by both an expressway and a railway or perhaps some rapid transport system. Richmond has some advantages because the expressway that would go to Richmond would be serving other purposes. From Sydney to Parramatta obviously we need an expressway, and from Parramatta to Richmond we get access to 2 other lines, the Bell's line to the west of New South Wales and the Putty fine to the north of New South Wales which branch off from one another in the Windsor-Richmond area. It seems to me that if we were to select Richmond as the site there would be very great advantages for the development of the road system in New South Wales in a way which is not directly related to the airport. Rail access would also be available. It may be that the rail access would be by means of a rapid transport system. But at least there would be a permanent way which would not be like the permanent way to the north of the Hawkesbury which consists of a winding track which will never take high speeds. In this case there would be a virtually flat track which would be capable of taking high speeds and so a high speed rail could be constructed into the Richmond area.

I do not want to be too definite about this. All I am trying to do is put forward some matters which are not perhaps technical matters as far as the aerodrome is concerned. I suggest that in this area perhaps there might be advantages not connected with the aerodrome, in having these facilities. The area to the west of Sydney requires good transport for reasons other than the aerodrome. If we can combine good transport facilities for the aerodrome with the good transport facilities which are needed for other reasons, particularly for the trunk roads going to the west and north of New South Wales, there may be some advantages. If we can develop the second airport within a reasonable distance of Sydney the noise nuisance from KingsfordSmith Airport will be very much reduced. Everyone hopes that it will be so reduced. I have a great deal of understand ing of the nuisance which is caused. We have to think of ways and means of reducing it.

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