Thursday, 21 October 2010
Cook Electorate: Sydney Airport
Sydney airport is critical to Sydney’s economic future and that of the Shire, the community I represent. The impact of airport operations requires careful management, because it is only through appropriate noise sharing and living within the long-term operating plan, developed many years ago by the coalition government and followed through by this government, that you can continue to foster a harmony between the great economic benefits derived from the airport and the standard of living which the community has come to enjoy. Managing that noise sharing and managing the environmental impact, as well as preserving the economic benefit of Sydney airport, is a very difficult task but one that we have to remain committed to because of the vital significance of that economic infrastructure to Sydney, the nation and certainly to my own community.
Issues arise in the management of airport operations, which do cause troubles within communities, but the things that cause the most angst are when changes take place. If someone has been used to living under a flight path—even though they are aware of that and probably wish that the planes were not there—there is an acceptance of that reality. But when the heights, noises and times of flights change after people have moved into particular areas to take advantage of a particular lifestyle those people are concerned.
The Sutherland Environmental Aircraft Noise Action Group has been one group raising these issues with me for some time. I was very pleased yesterday when I had a constructive meeting with the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and Airservices Australia. The meeting dealt with three very important issues. Firstly, there is the increasing incidence of the use of the Boree 4 standard arrival path to Sydney Airport, operating principally under mode 9 and SODPROPS, which has been causing a lot of distress to residents particularly in the morning peaks and in the shoulder periods. Secondly, there is the rivet 9 standard arrival path which takes planes over Grays Point and other western parts of the shire. These matters, combined with a need to get a better handle on the use of these flight paths and the need to ensure, more importantly—and this is the third point—that they are flying out over water rather than flying across suburbs to arrive at Sydney Airport, are very critical.
I appreciate the response that I got from the minister yesterday. I look forward to meeting with him again later in the year to address the issue of the distress being caused by the use of these flight paths, particularly Boree 4, in the early morning shoulder period through to the curfew. I thank the minister for the meeting. I look forward to the outcomes from that meeting and reporting these important results to my community in the days ahead.