Sydney Airport Delays
SYDNEY AIRPORT DELAYS
The Hon. D. J. GAY: My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Planning, and Minister for Housing. Is it true that commerce and industry in New South Wales, especially regional New South Wales, are suffering as a result of chronic delays at Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport? Is it also true that country members of Parliament have received an increasing number of complaints from regional businesses and industry since the opening of the third runway?
The Hon. R. J. WEBSTER: The answer to both of those questions is yes. It is true that there has been major disruption to business and commerce in regional New South Wales simply because of the incompetence of the administration running Sydney airport. We were told that the third runway would alleviate congestion at Sydney airport, yet delays of up to 1½ hours in flight times are occurring. The other day members of my staff were travelling to Bathurst to meet me on ministerial business. They left Sydney at the time they were supposed to arrive in Bathurst. Similar problems occur every day.
The delays have a major effect on the conduct of business in New South Wales at a time when Sydney is leading in the creation of new jobs. That is something else that members opposite do not want to hear. That is particularly true of the practitioner of Eganomics, who was shockingly flayed last week in all of the newspapers for his unbelievable approach to the State Bank (Privatisation) Bill. I am very concerned at the impact that these airport problems, which have been created by the Federal Labor Government, are having on regional New South Wales. Sydney is leading the national jobs boom, producing 71,800 new jobs in the past year, or a quarter of the country's total employment growth. Figures released yesterday -
The Hon. M. R. Egan: New South Wales has a third of the nation's population. Why does it account for only a quarter of the jobs?
The Hon. R. J. WEBSTER: New jobs, dummy.
The Hon. M. R. Egan: But how come New South Wales accounts for only a quarter of them when it has a third of the nation's population?
The Hon. R. J. WEBSTER: An article in the Sydney Morning Herald states that Sydney has been by far the best job producer of all capital cities. Does one believe the reports of the Federal Statistician? Certainly I would believe those ahead of the practitioner of Eganomics, the grand wizard of voodoo economics, who is sitting opposite. I do not intend to indulge in any more banter across the Chamber, because the issue is much too important. Country people, regional businesses and regional government departments are being hindered in the execution of their daily lives because of the disgraceful situation at Sydney airport.
I have written this morning to the Chairman of the Standing Committee on State Development, the Hon. Patricia Forsythe, to ask her to add to the terms of reference that I gave her yesterday the examination of the extent of air traffic delays at Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport and the implications of those delays for State development. I have done that because of the seriousness of the situation that has been created by the incompetence of the Federal Labor Government, the Prime Minister and the Federal Minister for Transport, Laurie Brereton. It is a matter that is of great concern to the Government.
Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile: The other problem is the control tower.
The Hon. R. J. WEBSTER: Can honourable members believe that they would open the third runway when the new control tower will not be open until next March and the new radar facilities will not be put in place until December 1995? They are not able to redress the situation, it appears, for another year. All I can say is that the Standing Committee on State Development now has extensive terms of reference to collate the extent of the difficulties, so that the Government can hand the information on to the Federal Government and make it fully aware of the problems.
The Hon. E. P. Pickering: And the people will be fully aware.
The Hon. R. J. WEBSTER: The people will be made fully aware of the problem, because it is essential that everybody realises that the problem has been caused by the incompetence of the Federal Labor Government.