SYDNEY (KINGSFORD-SMITH) AIRPORT THIRD RUNWAY
Matter of Public Importance
Mr J. H. MURRAY
(Drummoyne) [4.38]: I move:
That this House notes as a matter of public importance
(1) The Government's unannounced expenditure on the third runway without commensurate expenditure being budgeted for Badgerys Creek infrastructure.
(2) The Government's failure to provide a full and detailed costing of its commitments to the third runway.
Revelations in Government documents now in the hands of anti third runway groups have exploded this Government's public relations myth about the cost effectiveness of the third runway. Those documents have certainly highlighted the true cost of the third runway to the taxpayers of New South Wales. The documents clearly show that this Government will face costs and loss of assets between a minimum of $480 million and a maximum of $1.3 billion. To put that into perspective, the State Budget which has just been brought down had a total expenditure of $17 billion. The maximum figure of $1.3 billion that this Government will expend on the third runway is about one sixteenth of the total budget. The tragedy of the revelations in these documents is that the third runway costs will now be either double or treble the original estimates put forward by this Government in its attempt to convince the taxpayers of New South Wales of the viability of a third runway as opposed to accelerating the construction of a second major airport at Badgerys Creek.
Where will the money go? The Roads and Traffic Authority will expend a maximum of $956.5 million an increase from a minimum of $281.5 million. I notice that the Minister who is involved in much of this expenditure does not even have the courtesy or the guts to come into this House and face the music. The Opposition has ministerial documents which support those figures. The Maritime Services Board will expend a maximum of $141.9 million, including loss of sand in Botany Bay with a maximum valuation of $59 million or a minimum valuation of $38 million. The Department of Minerals and Energy will expend a maximum of $164 million and a minimum of $149
million; the Department of Health a maximum of $6.7 million and a minimum of $3.6 million; New South Wales Agriculture and New South Wales Fisheries $4.7 million; the National Parks and Wildlife Service $2.3 million - a total cost of $1.3 billion. Those figures are in 1992 terms. All honourable members know that when the third runway comes to fruition that figure will be much exceeded.
This major blowout has the same aura of intrigue about it as the Eastern Creek fiasco. Honourable members might remember that the Eastern Creek fiasco was to have cost $2 million but, according to the Auditor-General, it ended up costing $87 million. If associated costs are included, Eastern Creek cost a total of $107 million. This proposed third runway is another Eastern Creek. A major sleight of hand has been exposed by these secret documents. The New South Wales Government has handed over ownership of parts of Botany Bay to the Federal Airports Corporation, thus obviating the need for the State Government to avoid challenges to its own planning legislation. According to State documents, in this grubby exercise the Government has forgone about $400 million in the transfer of land. I have yet to hear or see one press statement from any Minister - whether it be the Minister for Transport, and Minister for Tourism or the Minister for State Development, and Minister for Arts - outlining the abysmal compensation Treasury will receive from this land transfer. The Government has been forced to sell the GIO to cover its economically inept financial decisions in relation to the costing of the third runway.
We need go no further than to look at the sand extraction debacle. These documents clearly show that, through an independent valuation commissioned by the Maritime Services Board, sand extracted from Botany Bay would be worth a minimum of $13.5 million or a maximum of $57 million. Yet this financially inept Government has agreed to a lousy $5.4 million for this most valuable public asset. The third runway has become a messy can of worms. The taxpayers of New South Wales have not been told the truth. It was interesting to read a recent report prepared by Coopers and Lybrand which shows how much of a financial loss will be incurred by residents who live under the flightpath. The real costs of the runway have been concealed from taxpayers. Now residents face huge losses because of devaluations of their properties. People owning and living in properties in Marrickville will face losses of up to $44,000 on their homes. For people living in Leichhardt that figure will increase to $51,000. Areas such as Drummoyne and Hunters Hill will suffer similar decreases in home values. The third runway will prove to be not only expensive for taxpayers but also unsafe. The third runway will increase the chances of a major disaster. We have heard not one word from the Government, or from any Minister, about the recent El Al 747 crash in Amsterdam. Honourable members might not realise that there is a close parallel between the operations of Amsterdam airport and Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport.
Order! I draw to the attention of the honourable member for Drummoyne that he is straying far from his motion. The text of the motion does not permit broad-ranging debate on the general question of aircraft operations at Mascot; it is to do with infrastructure costs. The honourable member must confine himself to remarks about those matters.
Mr J. H. MURRAY:
I was making the point that additional costs would be incurred as a consequence. Because of the similarity between the Amsterdam disaster -
On a point of order. The honourable member for Drummoyne is obviously ignoring the ruling you have just given. He seeks to persist with his argument and is drawing alleged parallels with the situation in Amsterdam. He should be asked to return to the motion.
Order! It was abundantly clear to the Chair that the
honourable member for Drummoyne had just returned to reading his prepared speech. I ask him to return to the text of the motion. If he does not, the only alternative is for the Chair to ask him to resume his seat.
Mr J. H. MURRAY:
The dredging of Botany Bay is another example of the Government's lack of concern for the environment and for taxpayers. No guarantee has been given that New South Wales will be compensated for the 400 hectares of Maritime Services Board land, which is worth between $300 million and $400 million. Commercial fishermen will be devastated economically by the proposed dredging. In their most productive fishing grounds they are facing losses of up to $400,000. The Premier and Deputy Premier cannot get their act together. When this cover-up was revealed the Premier promised to examine the $1.3 billion estimate, but hours later the Minister for Transport, and Minister for Tourism said that the figures were wrong. Who can we believe? However, it was interesting that the next day a spokesperson for the Premier said that the State Government was happy with its financial arrangements. We received no further amplification of the exact costs of this third runway. No detailed explanation was given to establish how much it will cost the taxpayers of New South Wales, because it is a cover-up. Today the Premier had to come into this House and move a motion to establish a committee. He is trying to do the same thing with this third runway, in the hope that the issue will go away. It will not go away. If I closed my eyes and listened to Premier Fahey talking, I could mistakenly believe it was ex-Premier Greiner addressing us. We have heard the same humbug and rhetoric concerning the third runway that we heard when we were questioning the Government about the costs of Eastern Creek.
The viability of the third runway is a myth which the Government is perpetuating at the expense of the taxpayers of New South Wales. It is a myth that the cost of the runway will not exceed half a billion dollars. In effect, these published documents from government departments show that the third runway could cost up to $1.3 billion. The cost of infrastructure alone associated with runway roadworks could reach $1 billion. On the one hand we have a myth being peddled by the Government's public relations machine and, on the other hand, we have the reality. The myth is that the third runway will be the quickest option and provide the best value for money. The reality is that, at a cost of $400 million, an airport with domestic and some international facilities can be built at Badgerys Creek within five years. If an airport were built at Badgerys Creek, aircraft movement capacity would increase by 300,000 per year. The proposed third runway at Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport will take four to six years to build. We have documents to prove that associated infrastructure will cost in excess of $1 billion.
The myth is that the third runway will not be a safety hazard. That is a myth if we look at recent overseas events. The myth is that a second airport at Badgerys Creek is not an alternative. The reality is that established airline operators will object to any site for a second airport. An alternative airport will have to be built even if a third runway is constructed at Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport. By developing Badgerys Creek now we can avoid crippling environmental problems, escalating costs and all the hassles associated with the third runway. Another cost - a cost which one cannot put one's finger on - concerns aircraft delays. Aircraft queue delays, ground delays, unimpeded taxi time and arrival delays all result in costs to the community. These infrastructure costs - taxiing to the airport and aircraft circling the airport - have to be built into the overall cost. In 1989 delays at Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport, on average, were 20.4 minutes. If a third runway was built that delay would increase to 32 minutes. That would affect tourism and cause problems for the business community and our economy. If an airport were built at Badgerys Creek aircraft delays would be reduced to six minutes.
This Government has not attempted to evaluate this cost in any of its environmental impact statements, but this cost has to be built into the equation. The documents we have in our possession have highlighted the fact that these costs have not been fully identified in any government environmental impact statement. It is apparent that the cost to the State Government of this third runway could be $1.35 billion, but the maximum return could be only $5.4 million. The costs to the Australian Government are estimated by the Federal Department of the Arts, Sport, the Environment, Tourism and Territories to be $319 million. The Federal Government is spending $319 million on the third runway and the State is asked to spend $1.35 million. Thus, the costs to the State Government of the third runway will exceed the costs to the Australian Government. The Australian Government owns the third runway; it is a Federal Government project. It is apparent from the documents in our possession that the Government is involved in a massive cover-up at the expense of the taxpayers of New South Wales. I am sure the Minister will deny the contents of some of these documents. These are official documents signed by departmental officers who have given accurate assessments and in some cases obviously the Government will not accept them.
(Willoughby - Minister for State Development, and Minister for Arts) [4.50]: I lead for the Government in speaking against the motion put by the honourable member for Drummoyne, and I will be joined shortly by the Minister for Transport and by other speakers on behalf of the Government. One has to ask oneself whether or not the Opposition is in touch with reality. Everyone in this State knows there has to be a third runway at Mascot if we are to keep up with the rest of the world and keep up with the demand by air travellers for improved flying times and opportunities. These travellers constitute ordinary people who simply want to travel overseas for a holiday, or perhaps small businessmen and businesswomen seeking opportunities and markets overseas or elsewhere in Australia. If the Labor Party is vaguely serious about coming to terms with those needs and demands, it will support what the Government is doing. The Government is committed to providing a third runway at the earliest possible moment.
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. I have not seen the documents referred to by the honourable member for Drummoyne today, but I take it they are the documents referred to in press reports earlier in the week. If so, these documents represent very early internal estimates which, as presented, are attributed to the construction and operation of a third runway. In other words, they may even be first draft documents. They are very early documents and have been superseded by many others. In early 1991, State Government agencies considered a range of information including the draft planning strategy for Sydney airport prepared by the Federal Airports Corporation. This exercise was aimed at defining possible parameters for negotiations with the Commonwealth or the FAC in respect of development of Sydney airport and the third runway. Before going into detailed explanations of how the figures quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald
article of 8th October were derived, I would like members of this House to be aware that, in contrast to the terms of the motion moved by the honourable member for Drummoyne, the State Government is not committing any additional expenditure to infrastructure and services than it would have normally considered without the third runway.
The Sydney Morning Herald
article referred in part to the details of the final agreements between the Commonwealth, the FAC and the State which were beneficial to the State. These include compensation for roadworks which relate to the construction and operation of the third runway and the operation of the airport, the closure and extension of Ninth Street and the extension of Qantas Drive, the provision of a direct grade separated connection at the junction of Airport Drive and Marsh Street, the Giovanni Brunetti Bridge. These works are to be fully funded and constructed by the FAC. I understand there have been consultations between the FAC, the Roads and
Traffic Authority and Botany Municipal Council on these works. Preliminary cost estimates are between $4 million and $5 million. A set of early figures for roadworks referred to in the Sydney Morning Herald
article on 8th October were derived in part from works outlined in the draft planning strategy for Sydney airport to well into the next century. They also included possible Roads and Traffic Authority works in the next decade, including the F5 and F6 freeways. These estimates are not directly related to the third runway.
The range of works outlined in the draft strategy will be matters to be considered in more detail by the FAC as and when the need arises. I expect these works to be funded by the FAC and anticipate full consultation with all relevant State agencies, including my own. The Sydney Morning Herald
article further referred to costs to the Maritime Services Board and the Department of Mineral Resources. It should be obvious to members of this House that there was substantial double counting in adding to estimates for the same resources. The figures quoted comprised valuations of land under the third runway as well as a valuation of fill. The early estimates used in arriving at the figures utilised a number of valuation techniques. The maximum land values were based on the highest industrial values, which are unrealistic for submerged land. The Maritime Services Board land was transferred for the nominal amount of $1 for two main reasons. The first is that the State did not want the FAC's asset to be increased by the market value of the Maritime Services Board land because the FAC would be forced by its legislation to automatically increase its charges to obtain a return on this asset. The State thus prevented the value of its land inadvertently penalising the transport and tourism sector. Second, the main benefits of the third runway will accrue to the State in growth, in airport related industries and tourism and associated job creation. Therefore, the State could afford to forgo some up-front revenue from the sale of assets in return for future dividends in the air transport industry and also in tourism opportunities.
Finally, New South Wales retains first claim on the land if ever it ceases to be a runway. A caveat has been lodged with the Registrar General. The compensation for New South Wales for fill is calculated to cover the real value to the State, taking into account the potential future port development. Fill valuations used a variety of commercial data collected by the Department of Mineral Resources. These values were re-assessed based on precedents for construction of State projects. Valuation of the sand was based on its value as fill, not on any alternative use. This is reasonable because most of the sand was probably destined to be moved for future port works. Consequently, there is no loss to the State by using the fill for runway construction. The current FAC estimate is that approximately 14 million cubic metres of sand fill will be required for the construction of the third runway. The fill will come from both port and non-port sources in Botany Bay in accordance with the environmental impact statement for the third runway.
The $5.4 million paid to the State represents payment for 4 million cubic metres of fill to be drawn from areas not designated for potential future port development. In effect, the State will receive full payment for the sale of sand outside possible port development areas. Sand from within the port will be provided at no charge in recognition of the potential that its removal provides for development of additional port improvements. As a component of future port expansion, this dredging work is a saving to the State. To conclude on this point, final agreements on land and fill recognise the following principles. First, benefits to this State of dredging for potential future port development in Botany Bay. New South Wales traded its sand for work to be undertaken which would ultimately benefit the State. This avoids any direct budget expense and frees money for other social priorities, something to which everybody in this House is committed.
The second principle is the potential reacquisition of the land and runway should the airport cease to be used for aviation purposes. The third is the current rate of royalty to the State as a basis for calculation of payment from the FAC to the State for fill extracted from any other area in Botany Bay. Other costs mentioned in the Sydney Morning Herald
article to which I referred relate to studies and resources sought by State environmental agencies in relation to the project. I am pleased to advise the House that the FAC, following full consultation with appropriate State agencies, completed stage one of its environmental management plan for Botany Bay in June 1992. The plan outlines in detail proposed management actions in regard to the issues raised by agencies such as New South Wales Fisheries, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Environment Protection Authority. The FAC has commissioned and is funding a number of studies requested by those agencies, and there is continuing and ongoing consultation and participation by those agencies. In regard to the other services costs, for example, water and sewerage requirements, the FAC will meet all the costs of works required in conjunction with the construction and operation of the third runway. Therefore there will be no unannounced expenditure by the State Government on the third runway.
The issue of staged development of Badgerys Creek Airport was recently considered in a submission to the Federal Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works at a hearing on development of stage one of the airport. In fact the Sydney Morning Herald
figure of $852 million is incorrectly attributed to road and rail access at Badgerys Creek. The environmental impact statement supplement for the third runway included estimates provided by the Roads and Traffic Authority and State Rail to the Commonwealth Department of Transport and Communications: for roadworks, $852 million and rail works $600 million to a fully developed airport between the years 2000 and 2010 at Badgerys Creek, should the third runway not proceed. Those figures do not include costs of land acquisitions, relocation of services, rolling-stock, et cetera. The State does not have the resources to fund such major infrastructure works. That was made abundantly clear at a meeting last night that involved the honourable member for Liverpool, the Mayor of Liverpool and other representatives of the Liverpool council. Had a Federal decision been made to proceed immediately with a major international or domestic airport at Badgerys Creek, the State would have sought funding for those works from the Federal Government.
The hidden costs attributed to the State Government for the third runway project, according to the Sydney Morning Herald
article of 8th October - that is, a maximum of $1.3 billion and a minimum of $480 million - are therefore incorrectly attributed to construction and operation of the third runway. The costs reported represent not only works not required for the project but also projections of infrastructure works for the Sydney region which may not proceed, as well as significant double counting and overestimates. As an outcome of negotiations with the FAC and the Commonwealth Government the third runway project will cost the State no additional expenditure on infrastructure and services. The only expenditure may be on regional transport infrastructure, which would have been carried out in any event over the next decade, and no doubt will be addressed by my colleague the Minister for Transport, and Minister for Tourism. The third runway environmental impact statement supplement estimated the cost of construction of the runway as $320 million. Those costs will be fully borne by the FAC. For the reasons I have outlined the Government flatly rejects today's claims by the honourable member for Drummoyne and the misleading figures presented by the Sydney Morning Herald
The State will benefit considerably from the expenditure by the FAC on the construction of the runway, the upgrading of the airport and funding of a number of measures for the management of the environment of Botany Bay. It is evident that even if the honourable member for Drummoyne and other members of the Opposition do not
support the third runway, the people of New South Wales do support it. They will be the ones who will use it. It is long overdue and should have been in place years ago. Members on this side of the House know that; members on the other side of the House know it also. It is critical that the third runway be in place as quickly as possible. If it is not, everyone knows that we will lose out to other States that have bitten the bullet in regard to airport development and the good things that flow from it. We must stop treating airport development as some terrible scourge on the community. The fact is that it is the community that uses airports. Airports are not used by a privileged few; they are used by men and women throughout Australia for a variety of social and commercial reasons. And so it should be. We want that third runway in place as quickly as possible and we want and expect that the FAC will meet the costs of the third runway. Accordingly, the Government rejects the Opposition's motion.
(Canterbury) [5.5]: I support this matter of public importance. I refer first to the second part of the motion, which criticises the Government for its failure to provide full and detailed costing of its commitment to the third runway. It is obvious to Opposition members why the Government has not provided full and detailed costing of its commitment. The Government is embarrassed because it finds itself responsible for costs of about $1.3 billion merely for the privilege of seeing the Federal Government expand an airport that has already reached saturation point as an international airport. The New South Wales Government is embarrassed because it must meet those costs, which should be shared more equally between the Federal Government and the State Government. New South Wales has fallen for the big bluff. It has been bluffed by the Federal Government into that expenditure. That occurred particularly when it was learned that the decision would be fairly evenly balanced and could be tipped in favour of Badgerys Creek if additional costs were loaded on to the third runway proposal. The New South Wales Government sat back and decided that it should not do anything about the matter or argue for a share of infrastructure costs but rather should go it alone. The Government fell for that line, despite the fact that at about the same time a State Government official advised that the Federal Government would not choose Badgerys Creek because it was not willing to spend up to $852 million on rail and road access - an amount this Government was not prepared to spend either.
The motion is critical of the Government for going overboard with its support for the expansion of Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport, where it is spending more than it should. The Government has even accepted, or I thought it had, a measly $5.4 million for the sale of sand that is valued at about $57 million. According to the Minister for State Development the Government is giving away the sand free of charge. It seems that New South Wales will lose out by about $57 million in that regard. At the same time the Government is unwilling to do anything about funding infrastructure for the Badgerys Creek Airport. Sydney's major airport needs for the future rightly should be met by having an airport at Badgerys Creek. I know why the Government has proceeded with this overexpenditure on Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport. First, a lot of pressure has been put on it to proceed with the third runway by the rural sector, which seems to prefer to have an international airport at Mascot. Naturally the business community wants Mascot to be expanded for the sake of the central business district. Also pressure has been put on members opposite by their own constituents who would prefer to leave their North Shore homes and use Mascot as the first port of call on their way to Paris than to go out to Badgerys Creek. That has much to do with this issue.
The Government's support for a new runway at Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport is so strong that one could be forgiven for thinking that Badgerys Creek was not a part of New South Wales. Sooner or later something will happen at Badgerys Creek
and it will be a tragedy that because of this Government's inaction the necessary plans will not be in place. Infrastructure, particularly transport, at Badgerys Creek will do more than benefit a new airport in that area; it will benefit all western Sydney. Once again the Government has shown a callous disregard for the people of western Sydney. The Government is two-faced. First, it has not pushed for a share of the infrastructure costs to be allocated by the Federal Government towards the cost of this runway - [Time expired
(Northcott - Minister for Transport, and Minister for Tourism) [5.10]: Honourable members opposite have been speaking unadulterated rubbish. Every resident of Sydney knows that this third runway is necessary. If Opposition members were genuine, they would support the construction of a third runway. It has even received the endorsement of their colleagues in Canberra. It is incredible that the Opposition would move such a motion in this House. A third runway is essential to promote tourism. Approximately 68 per cent of international tourists to Australia come via Sydney. Tourism is our No. 1 revenue earner; it is important for business. The third runway should have been built 10 years ago but, because the Labor Party could not get its act together, the disgraceful situation remains. Even the honourable member for Canterbury had something significant to say about the figure mentioned of $1.6 billion.
Mr J. H. Murray:
The honourable member knows that is rubbish. The Sydney Morning Herald
got it wrong, and the honourable member knows it. The State agreed to the compulsory acquisition of the runway site by the Commonwealth for a nominal consideration of $1. That is because an additional amount will be included in the overall costs of using the runway. The $1 transfer fee will ensure that the site will not be capitalised on the books of the FAC and that the asset value will not increase with a flow-on to aviation charges. New South Wales has the first right of reacquisition and is entitled to 50 per cent of the profit. Clearly the runway will be built. But if it is not, and if the site is not reacquired, New South Wales is entitled to 50 per cent of the sale of the site on the open market. Opposition members know that the peripheral ambit claim of $1.3 billion is a nonsense. If dredging of Port Botany goes ahead, the cost of the dredging will be at least as great as the value of the sand. However, some sand will come from other areas. In relation to that the FAC will be paid a lump sum of $5.4 million. The claim by the honourable member for Canterbury that there will be no payment is completely wrong. Revenue has not been lost. New South Wales is gaining from this overall exercise; it will not be faced with any costs. This State is not making a financial contribution towards this project - and I emphasise that - despite the claims of the Sydney Morning Herald
and the honourable member for Drummoyne. Such claims are nonsense.
The original compensation claims link the runway with a variety of roads projects and environmental remediation initiatives but these were of an ambit nature. There will be no instantaneous increase in traffic on completion of the runway. Road and other transport infrastructure will increase incrementally over the many years as a result of various initiatives, not merely the construction of the runway. The FAC has undertaken to significantly improve the two major road connections to the airport, and that will benefit the State. The FAC will bear all the costs of relocating water and sewerage services. Further, it has agreed to participate with State agencies in the development and implementation of an environmental and management plan for Botany Bay. The FAC is committed to funding any environmental remediation which is shown to be attributable to construction operations of the third runway. The Director-General
of Transport led the negotiations, but the responsibility now rests with the Director- General of State Development. This long overdue runway is being built by the Federal and State governments. New South Wales has given the Commonwealth the opportunity to acquire the land for $1. Appropriate compensation is being provided, where necessary, but no additional costs will be incurred by the State Government. Everyone knows that. Members of the Opposition should acknowledge the importance of the third runway to the economic development of this State.
(Port Jackson) [5.15]: Articles in the Sydney Morning Herald
have made for interesting reading. It is correct to assume that in relation to the third runway what the Government has done will make the Eastern Creek Raceway look like a sideshow. Once again the New South Wales taxpayer has been saddled with billions and billions of dollars in costs. The Federal Airports Corporation is proposing to spend $320 million to build the third runway. However, documents obtained under subpoena by a citizens group which is fighting the construction of the third runway show that the New South Wales Government is facing runway related costs amounting to between a disastrous $480 million and a catastrophic $1.3 billion. If the $500 million cost of advancing the F5 Freeway is excluded, the figure will only be $800 million! But that is not the end. Unfortunately, not all the State costs are included in the amounts referred to in the Sydney Morning Herald
articles. What about the costs of compensating schools, hospitals and other institutions under the flight path for soundproofing? The costings for the third runway do not include those figures and the New South Wales taxpayer will have to shoulder those costs.
I have spoken on many occasions in this House on this issue and asked many questions but I have never received a satisfactory reply from the Minister for School Education. Clearly enormous expenditure will be required by many schools - private and public - hospitals, the University of Sydney and other institutions situated under the flight path on some level of soundproofing. The Federal Government will not pay for that. It will be borne by individual schools and ultimately by the students who will have to pay incredibly high fees. Those schools that cannot afford soundproofing will suffer as a result. That hidden cost has been drawn to the attention of this Government, but it has chosen to ignore it. No provision has been made for compensation to residents who will be affected by noise. These externalities - as they are called - are never taken into consideration by major developers, including the FAC. It is about time the Federal and State governments recognised that major project costings, including the third runway, should include compensation to residents who will be disturbed significantly.
I am concerned also about the one-off loss to the State of significant fishing resources associated with Botany Bay. Again, costings of this kind have not been included. The New South Wales Government will have to compensate those affected in the fishing industry. Compensation to oyster farmers at Botany Bay has not been included. Will those businesses just go down the drain? I understood this Government was in favour of private enterprise and would be in favour of compensating oyster farmers, yet no assistance has been forthcoming. This is not a one-off loss; it will be a permanent and significant loss to our State's fishing resource. I am astounded that the State Government would accept a measly $5.4 million for the land that will be dredged when it has been estimated that it could be worth up to $57 million. Putting that aside, who will pay for the remediation costs of heavy metals such as mercury that will be unleashed in the bay and on the environment when this sand is dredged. That is another cost that has not been taken into consideration. Recently when the Penrhyn Estuary in Botany Bay was being dredged, the Environment Protection Authority had to disallow that dredging because of the toxic and heavy metals that were being unleashed. Fortunately
the Environment Protection Authority had jurisdiction at that time. In its eagerness to get the third runway under way at all costs the Government introduced State Environmental Planning Policy 31 which prevents the EPA having any jurisdiction over the impact of the dredging. Current State laws and guidelines drawn up by the EPA to ensure our environment is protected will have no status whatever in relation to the environment of Botany Bay and the third runway. It is an utter disgrace that the Government has relinquished the rights of the people of this State to allow the FAC to violate the environment of Botany Bay. [Time expired
(Vaucluse) [5.20]: It is difficult to imagine a more puerile and circuitous debate over the past 20 years than that involving a third runway for Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport. When I was Minister for State Development and Minister for Tourism I had the opportunity to confirm some obvious points in relation to the third runway that were perhaps best summed up in a statement released by me on 2nd December, 1991. The statement was headed "Third Runway Debate has gone on long enough. Let's get on with it". As the Minister for Transport said, the third runway project should have gone ahead 15 years ago. The anti-third runway debate is being driven by people who are fundamentally anti-growth, anti-development and anti-profit. They are the foundation members of the flat earth society who would be happy to see this nation mark time and slip further and further behind, as the tigers of the Asian region run rings around us in terms of productivity, efficiency and economic growth.
Let there be no mistake: if we do not get on with building the third runway, we will become the second-rate nation of the Asia-Pacific region. Those who oppose this project are negative and would see this nation stagnate. The world is experiencing rapid political and economic change. The changing international environment has significant implications for Australia and New South Wales. The figures in relation to tourism are available for everyone to see, but in many respects they represent only the tip of the iceberg. I recall being in T'aipei 12 months ago with the Director-General of the Department of State Development, who is sitting in the adviser's seat at this very moment. During the course of that visit the comment was made about an occasion when the head of the major firm Evergreen, based in T'aipei, was looking at investment opportunities -
Mr J. H. Murray:
On a point of order. During my contribution, when I sought to refer to an overseas example, a point of order was taken against me and I was not permitted to continue. The Speaker ruled that honourable members should refer only to infrastructure in New South Wales.
Order! I will allow the honourable member for Vaucluse to continue a little further. I have not really heard the thrust of his argument or how it pertains to the debate. If in fact it does relate to the infrastructure issue at hand, I should be happy to hear it.
The point is very simple: the honourable member for Drummoyne can try for all he is worth to use up my time, but the fact of the matter is that when a senior representative of Evergreen was sent to Australia in 1981 he was supposed to arrive in Sydney but the plane was diverted to Melbourne. Having arrived in Melbourne he was confronted with industrial action. He returned to T'aipei from Melbourne without having visited Sydney, stating that so far as investment in Australia was concerned, that was it. The plane did not land in Sydney; there was too much congestion at Sydney airport. The honourable member for Port Stephens and other members opposite can talk for all they are worth about the fishing industry in Botany Bay
and the oyster leases - the Government has great respect for those who toil and make an honest and decent living from those industries - but the fact is we are talking about nickels and dimes compared with the billions of dollars that will be invested in Australia when the third runway is built. There is an attempt by the foundation members of the flat earth society to divert this debate and stall the construction of the third runway. Unfortunately some well-meaning people who have been caught up with them are protesting on fairly dubious environmental grounds. They lack credibility - [Time expired
Mr J. H. MURRAY
(Drummoyne) [5.25], in reply: At the outset I make it quite clear that the State Australian Labor Party is at odds with the Federal Australian Labor Party on this issue. We do not believe there is a need for the third runway; we believe there is a need to locate a second airport at Badgerys Creek. The Minister for State Development in his 15-minute speech attempted to suggest that the documents in the possession of the Opposition are out of date. They are not out of date. In a letter dated 6th July, Mr Burchmore of the Division of Fisheries informed the Deputy Director of Fisheries and Mr Omma-Machio from the Department of Planning that there were problems, especially with the environmental impact statement and costings. The Department of Planning will refuse to provide additional income for the runway. The Maritime Services Board will do the same. The Division of Fisheries has advised that it will be following suit. The document suggests collusion between the three departments. They are at odds with what two present Ministers and one former Minister have put forward in this debate.
These particular departmental officials know full well that the costings they put forward are factual and that the taxpayer will bear the burden of these additional costs. The officials are trying to protect their own hides in these memorandums. Another document dated 13th September from the Division of Fisheries provided advice from the principal fisheries manager in relation to the third runway. The division considers the lead time inadequate for carrying out base line research on habitat and restocking needs. It suggests that the FAC must be responsible for the losses sustained and not defer research because the limitations put on research by the department would prevent the emergence of any reasonable results. The division advised the Department of Planning that more time was needed and that it could not monitor the habitat and develop the criteria and a definition within the limited period. That did not happen, and as a consequence the New South Wales taxpayer will have to pick up the tab for any damages that have been occasioned by this particular proposal. I remind honourable members of the difficulties experienced by the oyster growers in the Georges River when there was an oil spill in Botany Bay four or five years ago. That court case has just concluded. Approximately $3 million was received in compensation. The oyster growers represent only one small section of the fishing industry. New South Wales taxpayers face potential costs as the Federal Government will not meet those costs. I want to allude also to the sale of Maritime Services Board land.
The honourable member for Murrumbidgee might be a cocky down the coast somewhere but we will not feed him. He should listen to what I am saying. The Maritime Services Board has given a $400 million block of land to the Federal Government for $1. What is the rationale for that? The rationale is that if New South Wales charged the Commonwealth the full cost, there would be repercussions under the relevant Act. What hypocrisy! During question time yesterday I listened for 25 minutes while the Premier and the Minister for Health complained about the Federal Government short-changing this State by $90 million for health services. Despite that, the Chief Secretary, and Minister for Administrative Services, without blinking an eyelid, said that we have just given the Federal Government $400 million. The charge was $1.
Opposition members could not believe it. To compound the felony, the Minister for Transport said that New South Wales will be given first offer if the land is made available for purchase. If the land is to be sold, the Federal Government will allow New South Wales to buy it back at market-value, and New South Wales will get the first offer of purchase. If that is not the biggest bum deal I have ever heard of in my life, I should not be in this Parliament.
The Minister for Transport has said that the people of New South Wales will not incur additional costs. He said it is all forgone cost. There will be no additional costs, but, by the same token, there will be no income from the land that we give to the Federal Government for the runway. We will give them the land for $1. New South Wales will get $4 million or $5 million instead of $400 million, but honourable members are told that that is income forgone and we should not worry about it. I have listened to treasurer after treasurer in this House talk about accrual accounting and about how this Government is leading the world - not just Australia - in accrual accounting. We have new budget documents with income on one side and expenditure on the other. A cost must be assigned to assets, whether or not they are income producing. However, the first time there is a chance for this Government to practise accrual accounting, it is thrown out the window. The Minister said that we should look at only one side of the Budget and that forgone moneys are not taken into account. Such costs are counted elsewhere in the Budget, but not here.
It was interesting that the Minister for Transport did not mention the F5. The reason for that is that it is a $500 million hole that he was trying to sell to the Federal Government as part of this cost. He cannot have it both ways. The environmental impact statement for the Kinhill third runway stated that the Federal Airports Corporation is seeking agreement with the Roads and Traffic Authority to share the cost of the road, including the F5. That means that, even though the total transport strategy study for that area has been set up at considerable public expense, the Government is already planning to extend the F5 through the Wolli Creek area with Federal funding. The Federal funding was to come from moneys for the airport. Between April 1990 and June 1992 the Minister for Roads and the Roads and Traffic Authority, together with the Community Advisory Committee, which includes representation from the friends of Wolli Creek, conducted a Botany west transport study with the knowledge and concurrence of the Minister for Transport in order to determine transport needs for the region until 2010. At the same time that that was happening the Minister's department was secretly trying to screw the Federal Government for $500 million to build the F5 through Wolli Creek, and that is why he did not mention it here. That is why the Minister did not say the $500 million would be included in the costing for the roads. He cannot have it both ways. He cannot say to the Federal Government that he wants the money for one purpose but deny it in this place.
Any businessman who travels the world must use airports that are located a similar distance from the central business district as Badgerys Creek is from the Sydney central business district. That is the case at Narita in Tokyo, at the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, John Foster Dulles in Washington or Heathrow in London. Businessmen accept that situation, yet the rationale in this debate is that we must spend the money because business people in Sydney cannot be expected to travel to Badgerys Creek. What utter rubbish! Overseas businessmen do it and when New South Wales businessmen travel overseas they must do exactly the same thing. There is no economic rationale for the argument.
Motion agreed to.