Feb 12, 2007

Albanese welcomes airport decision



12 February 2007

I welcome the decision by Federal Transport Minister Mark Vaile to reject the draft development plan for Sydney Airport.

Labor always supports putting safety before profit.

The Minister’s decision has been a long time coming for local communities who would have suffered as a result of the proposed development. Indeed, the Minister should explain why it has taken the Government so long to make this important decision. It’s extraordinary that it has taken so long for the Government to reject the proposal based upon safety of the public.

The plan, which included a 48,000 square metre outlet centre, commercial buildings and thousands of parking spaces, would have created chaos for surrounding areas. It would have placed incredible strain on infrastructure, public transport systems, small businesses and residential developments.

State and local governments alike were united in their opposition to the development.

I have campaigned against the proposal from the outset and raised the issue in Parliament more than a year ago. It was clear from the outset that this proposed development was never about improving services to travellers: it was all about using a hole in Commonwealth legislation to make money for the airport owners at the expense of the local community.

I note that the Minister’s decision today is unlikely to stop Sydney Airport from submitting similar plans in the future that would impact adversely on local communities.

This is a victory for the local community.