12 November 2015

Ms TRISH DOYLE (Blue Mountains): On behalf of my Blue Mountains community, I draw the attention of the House to the questionable value of a second Sydney airport at Badgerys Creek. Now that the Abbott-Turnbull Federal Government has decided to go ahead with the airport, I will place on the record the unacceptable impacts my community will be forced to bear as a result of that decision. The recently released environmental impact statement shows that there will be a concentration of arriving flight paths above Winmalee, Springwood, Blaxland, Glenbrook and Warrimoo in the lower Blue Mountains, with planes flying over at 5,000 feet to 7,000 feet. By 2030, there will be 100 incoming flights each day. That is an average of one every 15 minutes. By 2050, there will be 280 flights; that is, there will be a flight every five minutes.

The political decision has been made by the Abbott-Turnbull Government that this airport will operate without a curfew. That means there will be flights throughout the night, which will cause constant disturbance to my constituents. That is demonstrably unfair. It is not good enough that the people of the inner city live by one set of rules while residents of Western Sydney must live by another. If Sydney Airport at Mascot is to retain its curfew then Badgerys Creek airport must also have one. On the question of the environment, the environmental impact statement analysis says very little of any substance about the potential impact on the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area of aircraft overflight above our national parks. Given that substantial sections of the world heritage-listed area and our drinking water catchment will be beneath the new flight paths, the environmental impact statement must address ways to protect these areas instead of pretending that because the proposed flight paths are indicative only that it cannot yet analyse those impacts.

If the airport goes ahead in spite of all these valid concerns, we will see congestion on our roads exacerbated because of the conservatives' ideological aversion to building rail infrastructure. If Malcolm Turnbull is to build his airport then he must build public transport links to the Sydney central business district, Parramatta, Penrith and the Blue Mountains. Otherwise, he will not only be building an airport many locals do not want, he will also be blighting Western Sydney and Blue Mountains residents with crippling traffic congestion. Our local Federal member, Louise Markus, has failed in her duty to represent her electorate. She has allowed her Government to plough ahead with an airport that had long been off the agenda. It is imperative that the Blue Mountains community makes it clear to Mrs Markus what they think of her plan to build an airport on our doorstep.

In fact, residents who have yet to digest the significance of the airport proposal and the impact it will have on their homes and their lives have no option other than to contact Mrs Markus directly because the window of opportunity to respond to the environmental impact statement will close very soon. Our community has been given just one month to respond to a 4,000-page document which, if implemented in the form and function it describes, will permanently change our local villages. As my old friend Councillor Mick Fell pointed out recently to a packed audience of concerned residents at Blue Mountains council chambers, there was a longer consultation period for the council's new green bins initiative than has been provided for the airport proposal. This sneaky, rushed job smacks of a cynical, high-handed Federal Government that is run by a wannabe aristocrat from Point Piper. He is a wannabe aristocrat who, it must be remembered, is madly trying to deliver on the captain's calls made by his failed predecessor, the member for knights and dames.

My message on behalf of the people of the Blue Mountains is this: We will not be blindsided by the ludicrous proposals in Mr Turnbull's environmental impact statement. We will not sit back and let our way of life be irreversibly destroyed. We certainly will not let any airport development jeopardise our pristine world heritage environment, or interfere in the efforts of our Rural Fire Service to protect us from bushfires. I have been distributing an environmental impact statement submission template throughout the lower mountains towns to those who will be directly impacted by the airport development so that the voice of the Blue Mountains is heard loud and clear on this issue.

In conclusion, I pay tribute to the hard work of many committed activists and our local representatives who have taken up the fight against the proposals in the environmental impact statement: Mayor Mark Greenhill, Susan Templeman and, of course, our local aviation experts Annette and Geoff Bennett are just a few. This Parliament is not the forum in which the argument about whether to build an airport will be won or lost. Unfortunately, the decision is out of our hands. I implore members in this place whose communities will be impacted to contact their counterparts in the Federal Parliament and to stand up for their constituents.