Transcript of Radio Interview with John Stanley
The Hon Anthony Albanese MP
Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,
Regional Development and Local Government
Leader of the House
Subject: Bankstown Airport not viable as Second Airport; Friday sittings
March 7 2008
JOHN STANLEY: Anthony Albanese has a lot on his plate but I understand at the moment he’s at a legendary rugby league ground in this week where we’ve marked the 100 years centenary of rugby league. He’s on the line. Good afternoon to you.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good afternoon John. How are you? JOHN STANLEY: You’re at Pratten Park, are you?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: I am at Pratten Park in my electorate at Ashfield. It’s the little kiddies, my son included, are playing – are at cricket training, the last one of the year.
JOHN STANLEY: Okay. And Pratten Park of course the ground where when Wests were probably at their strongest in the early 60s, those golden days for Wests and they played at Pratten Park then.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Absolutely. The old timers in the area, West Leagues Club of course is still just up the road and they tell us that it was a great oval and it certainly is, it’s a beautiful, beautiful spot. It’s got the old hills. I’m a bit old fashioned. Give me an old hill rather than a sort of stadium like Telstra. I think it’s got some real character here.
JOHN STANLEY: All right. Well there’s a bit of nostalgia there. But let’s get to a couple of issues. First of all airports, which have been an issue for you in your whole time in politics, living under the Sydney Airport flight path. Bankstown Airport you confirmed today that will not happen.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Absolutely. Look, you know, it’s simply won’t fly as an option if you’ll excuse the pun. We don’t want Bankstown which is of course a densely populated part of Sydney with the – surrounded by growth suburbs to be second, Sydney’s second airport. It just doesn’t, it’s not a viable option. There’s all sorts of complications because aeronautically of course it’s pretty close to Sydney Airport as well. Does it interfere with flight paths there?
And when you looked at the article, I looked at the headline in the Herald this morning and it was a fairly dramatic, dramatic headline. But when you looked at the substance, there wasn’t actually much there. I mean we’ve had, as the Federal Transport Minister, we’ve had no approaches at all from either the airport or Tiger Airways which is the low cost carrier of Singapore line.
JOHN STANLEY: Okay, Tiger Airways, have they spoken to you about any other places that they’d like to fly to, in the way that you have Avalon as the Jetstar destination outside Melbourne, a regional destination outside Sydney in the south west that might be an hour, an hour and a half out of the CBD?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well they’re now flying to Williamstown in Newcastle. Those flights began just about a month ago and they don’t have any plans at this stage…
JOHN STANLEY: To come closer.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: …to come closer as I understand it. Certainly if they did have, they’d have to go through federal approval and the idea that – Bankstown Airport at the moment couldn’t take these jets anyway. The runways aren’t big enough in terms of – that’s before you get to the logistical difficulties of where it’s located, the impact on local communities, which would have to be taken into account.
And if you opened up for Tiger, potentially you’d have to open up for much more of course. And there are a number of low cost carriers, namely Virgin and Jetstar, are functioning in and out of Sydney and functioning pretty effectively at the moment.
JOHN STANLEY: One of your predecessors in this job going back many years, who was also a factional warrior opposed to you was Laurie Brereton. He got Badgery’s Creek up and running but is that now dead and buried, Badgery’s Creek?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Look essentially the problem with Badgery’s Creek is that it was a terrific option in the early 90s. The problem is that the Howard Government came into office and didn’t do anything to progress it. And hence you’ve had growth in that area of Sydney and so we have a view, the new government that that’s no longer a viable option, that we need to look beyond the Sydney base with connected transport options. And…
JOHN STANLEY: So Badgery’s is out?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Badgery’s is out but we’ll look at other options for a second Sydney Airport down the track. It’s clear that the one thing that’s come out of this Bankstown story is an acknowledgement which is there that, with the growth of low cost airlines in particular, we have essentially hit the cap of 80 movements an hour at Sydney Airport during all the peak periods now. And Sydney will need a second airport. It’s a matter of finding a location, making sure that the planning mechanisms are right and when that’s done, making sure that it actually happens, unlike Badgery’s Creek which was, which is just left there to languish. It’s a pity. We could have had the – had 1996 been different it would have been up and operating right now.
JOHN STANLEY: Okay, just two other final questions. The Friday sittings of Parliament. I thought some of the Liberals behaved like buffoons in the Parliament but you’ve cancelled them now. Is it not the case that you risk the possibility that the sittings were unconstitutional and that therefore parliamentary privilege wouldn’t apply and that’s the main reason you’ve done this?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: No, of course. It’s a bizarre thing that the Opposition have come up with. We had legal advice from the Australian Government solicitor. There’s no new standing orders. They’re the same standing orders that we introduced by the Howard Government for Mondays and Tuesdays, which have been maintained. The deferral of divisions and quorums. So there’s nothing new about it and the speaker and the clerks, they don’t actually approve. The clerks of the Parliament don’t approve these things without getting proper advice. And the Speaker tabled his response to that.
It’s simply the case that clearly the Opposition didn’t want to work five days a week. They didn’t like the idea that private members business, which has always been subject to no votes. That’s the whole point of it. It’s a chance to come along as a local member and raise local issues, move private members bills. There aren’t votes and there won’t be votes when private members business is moved to Monday night.
JOHN STANLEY: Okay, just a final one then. Are you as surprised as I am that no one in the Government has been able to utter the words today, carers will not be left worse off by the budget that’s coming up in May?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well look, it is normal processes that we don’t discuss the budget deliberations of any government …
JOHN STANLEY: But you’ve bled today politically and you’ve got carers in tears on air, who are terrified that they’re going to lose something that they’ve got.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well let’s be clear, they haven’t got it. These were one off payments. They weren’t in the budget for the forward estimates that the Howard Government went to the election with. Of course they put as part of the budget statements, forward statements, four years on. There wasn’t a dollar there from the Howard Government, that’s the truth of the matter. And so nothing’s changed there.
But with regard to support for carers, there will be statements as appropriate in the Budget.
JOHN STANLEY: Okay. All right. Well I’m sure that one’s going to bubble away over the weekend. I’ll let you get back to the cricket. Thank you.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Thanks John. Good to talk to you.
JOHN STANLEY: Anthony Albanese, who’s the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure. I imagine a lot of people won’t find that a satisfactory answer. And plainly they’re sticking to their line that those carers’ payments were one off payments. One off in each of four successive years. And that they can now no longer pay them. I find that astonishing. I’m amazed – I’ll be amazed if they don’t reverse that over the next few days.