Thursday, 28 June 2018
Airports Amendment Bill 2016; Second Reading
I speak in continuation on the Airports Amendment Bill 2016. The lack of consultation is a key fact in anything this Liberal government does. My community knows that too well after the recent decision by the New South Wales state Liberal government to bulldoze their homes and then cause months and months of anxiety to these communities—500 people, in fact, having bulldozers come right through their businesses and homes—because the state government decided not to have any consultation with them and announced that there would be a new corridor, which was a complete departure from the 1,951 reservations that were made.
When you talk about community consultation, you actually have to deliver on it. We see time and time again when it comes to Western Sydney Airport that there is absolutely no difference. We've had six days notice to attend a community meeting, with only two days notice to make an RSVP. That would hardly be considered a reasonable or amenable time frame to anybody. Some of the more outspoken members of this House who would like to be part of the FOWSA board, or the FOWSA communications directory, or whatever they call it—me; Susan Templeman, the member for Macquarie, which is up in my back yard; and the member for Chifley, Ed Husic, whose electorate is on the other side of mine and who is known to have been quite strongly opposed to this airport for a long time—were denied access. If you're denying access, you're denying consultation for those members and those members' communities—about 300,000 people.
What we're going to see with this airport is a $10 billion investment. That's $10 billion of taxpayers' money that's going into Western Sydney. Ordinarily, we might be excited about that, but all it's going to do is add miles and miles of congestion. There is no plan for local jobs. There is no plan for people movement. Sorry, I must say this. Imagine how it was for me sitting there, reading the budget papers, and reading about the 'great' investment this government was going to make in the Western Sydney airport infrastructure and the rail line which will take people from the airport and move them onto a more congested line or an already congested line that is only going to get more congested with these extra passengers. Imagine my surprise when I read that there is only $50 million for another study. This government is not serious on delivering anything of any concrete value to my community, with $10 billion going into this.
Maybe government members should come to Western Sydney occasionally. It might be hard for them to find where it is! The minister didn't even know which electorate this airport was going to be in. After he argued with me for five minutes, he then decided that I was right and that it was going to be in the electorate of the honourable member for Werriwa, the hardworking Anne Stanley, and not in the electorate of Angus Taylor, who is the member for Hume. If the minister doesn't even know where the airport is going to be, he's hardly the right person to be delivering consultation to the communities it is going to affect. We have $10 billion going into one single project to deliver goodness knows how many jobs. We heard 90,000. Then we heard 26,000. Then it went down to 9,000. Then it went back up to 26,000 again. Nobody has been able to come out and say, 'This is how many jobs will be created from the establishment of this airport.' People in my electorate have been told, 'This is going to be the greatest saviour you've ever seen.'
This is $10 billion of taxpayer money going to a single project. If you wanted to know what that money might be better spent on in my electorate of Lindsay, you might look at some of my schools, which have some of the highest numbers of demountable classrooms. We have some of the oldest infrastructure. Every school in my electorate is bursting at the seams with enrolment. And we have brand-new suburbs in Jordan Springs being opened and people moving in without any new infrastructure in the schooling system whatsoever. So we've got a huge number of projects that you could essentially pick up and better spend that money on, and that's what the people in Lindsay want. They don't come up to me in the street and say: 'Can you hurry up on that airport, Emma? I'd like to get out of here a bit quicker or I'd like to get my freight delivered a bit quicker.' That's essentially what this airport is going to be for. They don't come up to me and ask about that. They ask about infrastructure for the train line. They ask about infrastructure for the roadways. They ask why they're paying tolls on the motorways again. They want their schools fixed and they certainly want a better hospital system.
Every time this government talks about the Western Sydney Airport being the saviour for Western Sydney, without a curtsy, by the way, we are being told a furphy—every single time. We've never once seen a member of this government or a Liberal turn up with a shovel and a chequebook and ask, 'What does this community actually need?' That's what consultation would entail. It would entail asking, 'What does this community actually need, and what does it want?' When they arrive with their shovels and their chequebooks they could ask us, instead of ramming an airport down our throats or ramming an incinerator down our throats—which the member for McMahon well knows about—or rounding home some toxic waste that they wanted to bring in from Hunter's Hill and give us another toll perhaps. When they come with their chequebooks and their shovels and they're ready to give us what we want, there might be some more trust in our community for these Liberals on the other side and, quite frankly, also those on Macquarie Street. That is absolutely not what's been happening and not what will happen under this government moving forward.
The government see Western Sydney as a place to take for granted and to deliver anything other than what we actually need. My community deserve to be treated as equals with those who enjoy the amenity over on the other side of Sydney. They deserve the opportunity to have a curfew put on their airport so that aircraft are not flying over their houses 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Minister Fletcher, who is miles and miles away from that sort of airport, has been on the public record whinging about aircraft noise in his own electorate. He is on the record whinging about that. Where the airport is going to be built will be far closer to many of the homes of the people I represent, but he has cut me out of consultation at every single opportunity and refuses to come out and front the people of Western Sydney or to allow me to be a voice for them in any kind of forum. I shouldn't be shocked, but I am. I live in a world of optimism, but I am constantly shocked by how this is the norm for this government and how a lack of consultation is going to lead to really poor outcomes and really poor decisions.
We are already home to two million Australians and the third-largest economy. We're going to be home to three million Australians by 2050; there will be more people living west of Parramatta than will be east of Parramatta. There is no plan. There is no jobs target. There is absolutely nothing in this for the people of Western Sydney. I ask for leave to continue my remarks at the next sitting.
Leave granted; Debate adjourned.