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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 9 Hansard (1 September) . . Page.. 2744 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

I suggest that the communication would be a total waste of time. I hope to be convinced otherwise during the remainder of this debate. If this debate is just another contrivance to claim personal ownership of the VFT project for the Government or for the Chief Minister, I would ask that we not have motions of this kind wasting the Assembly's time. As I have said, the ALP shares with all of Canberra in the hope of the economic stimulus that trains and planes might bring. We do, however, also have a wider vision of the Canberra of tomorrow as Australia's "Bostington", Australia's equivalent of both Washington and Boston in the United States, the nation's capital and a prime centre of excellence operating a knowledge-based economy - a knowledge-based economy developed in a structured manner. If any members should like to know about and understand a knowledge-based economy, which is a little bit wider than just heading for silicon valley, I have a few handouts available over here and a couple of files on it.

MS TUCKER (4.59): The Greens will not be supporting this motion as it is a much too simplistic response to a complex transport infrastructure issue. I cannot support a motion like this one until much more work has been done on assessing both the viability and the environmental and social impacts of these proposals. Mr Hird's motion promotes both an international airport for Canberra and a high-speed train link with Sydney, but both of those proposals have their problems. The issue of a second Sydney airport is very vexed and I have great sympathy for those Sydney residents who have to live with planes going over their head every five minutes.

At 5.00 pm the debate was interrupted in accordance with standing order 34; the motion for the adjournment of the Assembly having been put and negatived, the debate was resumed.

MS TUCKER: The Federal and New South Wales governments have been avoiding making hard decisions about this issue for too long, but I do not think that the decision-making process is helped by ad hoc calls for a new airport to be in this spot or that spot. Any decision on where a new airport should go needs to be based on a comprehensive analysis of the suitability of the suggested sites in terms of infrastructure requirements, local environmental and social impacts and economic viability. The development of Canberra Airport into a full international airport would just transfer the environmental problems of Sydney airport from Sydney residents to Canberra residents.

I cannot support this motion until a full feasibility study and an environmental impact assessment are undertaken of any proposal to expand the operations of Canberra Airport to cover international flights. I am aware, of course, that Canberra Airport already has approval for use by international charter flights, but I understand that this has not eventuated yet. Aircraft noise is already an issue for many inner-north residents. Some of the problems have been alleviated through changed flight patterns, but any expansion into international flights would certainly increase noise levels in that area and over Queanbeyan. Any expansion of the purpose of the airport must occur only after consultation with the residents who would be affected by the aircraft traffic. I do not want to pre-empt that community debate by supporting the motion.

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