PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS: Transport and Urban Development
Mr CADMAN (Mitchell) (4.05 p.m.) —After first being promoted by the member for Chifley, Badgerys Creek is now off the agenda. Everything else is on the agenda, subject to an environmental impact statement, including the air base at Richmond.
Labor's integrated transport policy, which you must be familiar with, Mr Deputy Speaker Jenkins, contains the heading `A potential new role for Richmond airport'. The document states:
Labor believes Richmond Airport could play a larger role in addressing Sydney's general aviation needs and possibly other aviation operations.
There it is—it's the Labor Party's policy. They want Richmond. They have canned Badgerys Creek and they are going for Richmond. In a media release on 28 July the member for Chifley said:
Labor has lost 5 seats in Western Sydney and this decision—
That is, to can Badgerys—
is essential in the fight to win them back.
That is what it is all about—it is a political statement. But what is the policy? On the one hand it seems to be Richmond but on the other hand it seems to be saying, `Anywhere but Badgerys Creek, subject to an EIS.' Isn't that a compelling argument to go to an election with? Won't that convince people in Western Sydney that you are half serious? `We are going to have anywhere but Badgerys but we are going to have an EIS first.' What does that mean? You're going to have an EIS on Badgerys and put it straight back at Badgerys immediately after the election. [start page 21740]
Mr Price —Get the policy changed.
Mrs Irwin —Sell Badgerys Creek.
Mr CADMAN —Of course you could; that's the next change of mind. It is a seasonal thing, you see. About 1992, propose Badgerys; about 2002, reject Badgerys; and about 2012 put Badgerys back on the agenda again. Of course that is the proposal. I am very interested in what Anthony Albanese said. He said:
What I say is, if we're going to have a consensus about removing Badgerys Creek site from our platform, what we need to do is to not have a `Where's Wally' approach to the airport. We need to identify a site as our preferred site; say we'll support it subject to an EIS.
So we are going to have a `Where's Wally' sort of exercise—that is what Anthony is saying—that is all over the place. You have ruled out Badgerys but you have ruled in Goulburn, Williamtown, Canberra, Wilton, Galston, Richmond, Holsworthy and Somersby—you have got the lot—and you are going to have an airport somewhere on those sites, subject to an EIS. That is wonderful politics. That is just going to frighten the whole population of Sydney. Previously you worried only the people in Western Sydney; now you are going to worry the lot of them. I do not think that is a very sensible policy. I know that if you lived in Western Sydney, Mr Deputy Speaker Jenkins, you would be part of it, but I know that you are not; you are against it. So the `yous' I have used are not referring to you—if you understand what I mean.
This is the confusion of the Labor Party on this issue. In 1996 Cheryl Kernot, in a press release, said:
... further steps in the environmental assessment process had to occur before the Government made a final decision and the Opposition was not going to pre-empt or circumvent that process. “There is a process in place,” she said, “and we have always said we will not jump in before that process is completed.”
There you are—looking at the EIS: no decision for five years, six years, seven years, and suddenly you are going to can Badgerys on no grounds whatsoever, except it is politically expedient. You have said it is politically expedient—that is what you are going to do. The policy was also enunciated by Kim Beazley at the same time when Kim, in 1996, was saying that he was all for Badgerys Creek. What does Mark Latham say? This is a bit of coat-trailing if ever I have seen it. When Mark Latham, who is from Western Sydney, wanted to make remarks about the opposition's decision not to go ahead with Badgerys, the member for Werriwa, who has been a keen promoter of the Badgerys Creek site, said:
If the Howard Government had kept its promise it would be open today. You'd be taking flights out of Badgerys Creek. But they broke their promise and in the Labor Party we can't allow the uncertainty to go on.
What is that? That is a `me too' statement. The member for Werriwa is saying that he wished the Howard government had made a decision to go ahead with Badgerys, he regrets that it has not, and now he agrees that the Labor Party has no choice but to agree with the government. (Time expired)
Author: Alan Cadman MP
Source: House Hansard - 3rd November 2003
Release Date: 4 Nov 2003