November 1999


Badgerys Creek Airport would cause "very substantial and permanent changes"

The Badgerys Creek EIS process has finally thrown up the last in a long line of documents: 'The Environmental Assessment Report' prepared by Environment Australia, Environment Minister Robert Hill's fiefdom. Dated July 1999, it has taken until November to reach the public.

The Executive Summary makes interesting reading for Blue Mountains residents: "The direct cumulative impacts of the construction and operation of an airport on the western Sydney region would be very substantial ... The presence of an airport would also attract development and act as a catalyst for the spread of urban development that is already encroaching into the essentially semi-rural area bounded by Penrith to the north, Camden to the south, Liverpool and Fairfield to the east and the Blue Mountains escarpment to the west. It would cause very substantial and permanent changes to the character of the area ten to fifteen kilometres around the airport site. These effects would spill over into the World Heritage nominated Greater Blue Mountains Area and to adjacent parts of Sydney."

Number 49 of the 52 recommendations says: "The potential impacts on the World Heritage values of the Greater Blue Mountains Area must be identified and taken into account in all elements of the planning and operation of an airport at Badgerys Creek." ".... taken into account" - how reassuring!

There is still time to voice your objections to this proposal before the Blue Mountains falls victim to the fall-out from those "very substantial and permanent changes" predicted in the Environmental Assessment Report. Why not remind both Howard and Beazley (address Parliament House, Canberra) that the next federal election could be won or lost in the western Sydney seats of Parramatta, Macarthur, Lindsay and Macquarie.

Colin Anderson, Co-ordinator, Mountains Against Badgerys Creek Airport (MABCA)

Ask Senator Hill, How?

The Badgerys Creek EIS process inched forward on September 3 as Senator Hill completed his "review" of the EIS.

Predictably he was of the opinion that "there is no insurmountable environmental issue that would prevent the project proceeding".

"In the event of Government approval of the project," however, "the cumulative impacts will require careful environmental management."

As if we didn't already know! The last thing an EIS is designed to do (and no EIS - not one! - has ever done) is knock a proposal on the head. Its primary purpose is to rubber stamp a government decision and detail areas in need of environmental management.

And who'll be doing the managing? Long after the proposal's perpetrators, whether consultants or bureaucrats or politicians, have retired far from the scene of their crime, doctors and nurses will be left to manage the increased incidence of respiratory disease, chemists to manage noise-induced sleeplessness, and teachers to manage distracted students.

I'll let Senator Hill have the final word on our own patch: "The construction and operation of the airport should occur in such a way as to minimise adverse impacts (if any) on the World Heritage values of the Blue Mountains Area."

Ask him how! (The address is Parliament House, Canberra 2600.) And by the way, still no sign of a decision. Colin Anderson, Mountains Against Badgerys Creek Airport (MABCA)

NO, Not Even a "Baby" Airport at Badgerys Creek!

Residents should not be lulled into thinking that anything less than the megaport pushed in the EIS at Badgerys Creek is acceptable.

Talk of a 'baby Badgerys', having only one runway and a terminal, or something akin to Labor's original proposal back in the late 1980s, has emerged from cabinet discussions.

We should all remember that babies (unless of the white elephant variety) grow up and that all it would take to grow like the proverbial Topsy is for a Beazley (or worse still, Latham) Government to send in the bulldozers.

Once the site has been dedicated as an airport - of whatever variety - western Sydney's fate is sealed.

So keep on writing, and feel free to register on 4739.0994 or 4739.4374 for a rally in Canberra on 29 September.

Colin Anderson, MABCA.

Action Against Airport

An Anti-Badgerys Rally at Penrith on 25 July attracted some 3000 angry residents, many from the Mountains.

Faye Lo Po voiced the Carr Government's rejection of any kind of airport at Badgerys Creek, affirmed that the State Government would not be kicking in billions in infrastructure funding and said that she was prepared to take on the bulldozers.

Bob Debus vowed to do the same and said that the State Government was set to deliver a 'thumbs down' response to the Badgerys EIS.

Jackie Kelly, Federal Sport and Tourism Minister, is, it seems, far less confident than she was prior to the last election, of her ability to influence her Government's decision on Badgerys Creek. Jackie was heckled by the crowd when she could only take a swipe at the Carr Government, "Without State Government support no airport can be built at Badgerys Creek.".

A decision is imminent. There is still time to write letters to the Prime Minister and members of cabinet (a full list of names were in July Hut News), address Parliament House, Canberra 2600. Points raised in the Final EIS which will affect Mountain residents are listed on page 2.

There will be another Protest Rally at 1.30 pm. on Sunday 8 August at the Marconi Club, Bossley Park.

Further action in the form of buses to Canberra has been foreshadowed. Mountains residents interested please phone Colin Anderson on 4739.4374.

Badgerys Creek: Final EIS

"It should .. be noted that in reducing noise impacts, only impacts in populated areas have been considered. The result is that in some cases, impacts over non-populated areas, particularly the Blue Mountains National Park, would increase under these (noise abatement) scenarios. In addition, most management procedures involve 'trading' higher noise exposure for a smaller number of people against lower exposure for a larger number." (EIS Supplement 8-71)

In other words, the Blue Mountains is western Sydney's equivalent of Botany Bay and, where possible, will be used as a flightpath to avoid the more populated areas of Western Sydney.

"Modelling undertaken for this supplement predicts that when operating at maximum capacity, the airport would give rise to increased ozone concentrations in areas 10 to 50 kilometers to the west of the airport." (Supp 11-24)

Ozone is a key component of smog. It is also a carcinogen and tree killer. An airport at Badgerys Creek would effectively take the Sydney smogzone to Katoomba.

"Surface water discharge from the airport would be of a better quality than existing run-off, due to the use of procedures to prevent contaminants entering the drainage system and treatment of all surface water in water quality control ponds prior to discharge. This would have beneficial impacts on the ... Hawkesbury-Nepean River System." (EIS Summary p31)

An airport-led recovery of the Hawkesbury-Nepean, no less! We should perhaps use this approach to reclaim the Murray and Darling ...

"The impacts of aircraft noise on wildlife inhabiting the area of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Nomination are not likely to be significant." (EIS Summary p37)

Not likely = We have no idea.

Badgery's Creek EIS Summary

Just a few gems from a certain glossy sales document entitled 'Summary of the E.I.S. for the Proposed Second Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek' released on 30 June 1999.

"The operation of the airport and airport-related motor vehicle traffic would increase ozone concentrations in areas 8 to 43 kilometres to the west of the airport" (p52) ..... "The construction of the Second Sydney Airport would contribute to short-term degradation of biodiversity and water quality in Sydney through the clearing of vegetation and construction-related water impacts" (p45)

"The operation of the Second Sydney Airport and the motor vehicle traffic generated by the airport would be significant contributors to emissions of air pollutants in Sydney" (p45) ... "A decision to proceed with the Second Sydney Airport would, over time, significantly alter the character of western Sydney. Gradual changes to the noise environment, air quality and the rural character of the region would occur ... (and) pressure to alter and use patterns and allow additional urban development which could potentially result in further biophysical and social impacts" (p46)

And so on - but not a whisper about the Blue Mountains!

So, if you've no wish to see the mountains turned into an echo chamber for aircraft noise or have them become part of the Sydney smog-zone, now is the time to write, fax or e-mail over the next few weeks prior to a decision.

Let the politicians know how you feel. They are your representatives - a list of members of Cabinet is on page 2. Send copies to Kerry Bartlett (PO Box 376, Springwood 2777), Jackie Kelly (PO Box 712, Penrith 2750). Make a noise now before IT does.

(Colin Anderson, MABCA, Contact 4739.4374.)

PROTEST RALLY: Sunday 25 July, 1.30 pm at the Dame Joan Sutherland Centre, Penrith (next to Penrith Plaza and Council Chambers) BOB CARR TO SPEAK. Be there!


Hints on Writing Letters

Start by writing 3 to 5 letters on different issues. Copy each of the letters and send them to the politicians listed below. If possible send one letter each week as this will have a much greater impact.>

Don't worry about mistakes in your letter, personal letters have more meaning than carefully scripted form letters. Hand written letters are personal and are also more meaningful.

Write straight forward letters and ask questions that the politicians must answer.

Half an hour is all that is needed, just sit down, write a note and post it. Short sweet and to the point is all that is necessary.

Remember, your letters do count!

Send Letters to:

The following are the members of Cabinet who will be making the decision on Badgerys Creek Airport:

Address: House of Representatives, Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600.

Badgerys Creek - Time is Running Out!

On April 15 Federal Transport Minister John Anderson pre-empted the outcome of the Environmental Impact Study and signalled that a 24 hour international airport would be constructed at Badgerys Creek.

Anderson told journalists he had been discussing the issue with John Howard and that it was reasonable to assume that he knew the general thrust of the EIS recommendations. A Government source commented later "The Minister's speech was a very strong statement of support that Badgerys Creek is the only realistic solution given that the EIS does not categorically rule out the project as an environmental disaster". Anderson's staff invited journalists to "read between the lines".

In terms of the Commonwealth's EIS process, 'Environmental Disasters' don't exist. Less than 1% of evaluated proposals are rejected on environmental grounds. The premise of an EIS is to identify environmental impacts and produce a strategy to manage them. This, from a government that approved uranium mining at Jabiluka!

Anderson's comments invoked an angry response from western Sydney Liberals, particularly Jackie Kelly who described Anderson as a "captive of his department". Kelly described the Department of Transport as having a 'Badgerys or Bust' mentality. Her public comments earned her a carpeting by John Howard whilst Howard's North Shore colleague and former western Sydney medico Brendan Nelson, welcomed Anderson's comments with apparent immunity. Nelson added "Assuming the EIS confirms that Badgerys can proceed, which I think it will, then the Government should make a decision as quickly as possible".

The Liberal Party is split along geographical lines over this issue, with the safe North Shore group, including the PM, pushing hard for Badgerys. The PM will push this through at his own peril. After the 96 election, he embraced his Western Sydney converts as 'Howard's battlers', but with Labor on the ascendancy and with an airport looming, their loyalty could evaporate. >

Ironically also on April 15, Tourism Council of Australia managing director Phil Young said a survey showed 60% of NSW tourism operators would support the development of a second airport outside the Sydney basin.

John Anderson also indicated his enthusiastic support for the Very Fast Train between Mascot and Canberra airports, expected to be operational by 2003. Why sites along this new rail corridor are not being evaluated is beyond me!

Please write NOW to the PrimeMinistister and the Environment Minister (Parliament House, Canberra). Time is running out. Don't forget to send a copy to Kerry Bartlett.

Kay Vella, Chairperson, Communities Against an Airport in Western Sydney.

strong>Badgerys Creek: Count-down is On!

The Badgerys Creek airport count-down is on. The EIS supplement will be out any time now. Essentially it will tell us that although there will be environmental impacts, they can be managed. The commonwealth's auditor SMEC, will then have a mere 10 days (!) to pick over it. Both supplement and audit will then go to Environment Minister Sen. Hill prior to cabinet's decision expected in July.

The decision will be strictly political, the EIS being merely to give the illusion that environmental and social factors have been accounted for.

Trying to read the Howard cabinet's mind isn't easy but here goes: Howard will go for Badgerys, labouring it seems under the sunk-cost fallacy: the human tendency to judge options according to the size of previous investments rather than the size of the expected return. For him to make a rational decision he'd have to renounce an idea which he and his kind on both sides of politics have held dogmatically since the early 80's and admit that it is now poison. Ditto for Transport Minister John Anderson who dutifully follows the script written for him by his departmental bureaucrats, die-hard Badgerys supporters.

Finance Minister John Fahey is against Badgerys, not only out of concern for his seat, but also because he's aware of Sydney's air quality problems, the economic downside of the proposal and the merits of the Very Fast Train concept. Treasurer Costello is reportedly unhappy with the economics of the proposal. The rest it appears can be swayed either way so long as their budget allocations aren't tampered with.

John Fahey once said that he'd never known cabinet to push ahead with a proposal if the Finance Minister disputed its figures. We can only hope that he'll do this and be proven right. Do however take out insurance by writing (again) to John Howard, John Anderson, Senator Hill, Senator Minchin, Senator Newman and John Moore (C/o Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2060). Remind them just how fickle the mountains can be. Also send copies to Kerry Bartlett (PO Box 376, Springwood 2777) and Jackie Kelly (PO Box 712, Penrith 2750.

From Colin Anderson, Mountains Against Badgerys Creek Airport (MABCA)

See what Blacktown Council and the Western Sydney Alliance think of the proposed airport! [links removed as they are no longer valid]

Visit the Fairfield Residents Against Airport Noise Web Site.