Interview with Kieran Gilbert – Sky News AM Agenda – Wednesday 16 April 2014





SUBJECT/S: Badgerys Creek; Infrastructure

KIERAN GILBERT: With me on the program now Labor Frontbencher Jason Clare, the Member for Blaxland as well in Western Sydney. Jason Clare this is a lot of money, I put the same question to Ed Husic, and I want to get your thoughts on this now. For the jobs, tens of thousands of jobs once the airport is built, it’s a lot of money being spent on infrastructure for your area. How do you respond, does this ease your concerns at all?

JASON CLARE, SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS: I support the development of a second airport for Sydney but I do think it’s important that a rail line is built to the airport, not just road links. I think it is important that there is a curfew for this airport just like for Sydney Airport and it’s important that we develop a real jobs plan here not just jobs building the roads and building the airport but what I’m talking about here are long term jobs, high skilled, high paid jobs in business parks and tech parks that surround this airport.

GILBERT: So it sounds like you differ with Ed Husic on this. Ed is worried about the money that has been allocated, he doesn’t think it’s sufficient. He thinks the estimates are being over-egged in terms of the jobs creation as well. It sounds like you’re more in line with the view of Anthony Albanese, the Transport Spokesman for Labor who’s given in principal support to this announcement.

CLARE: Kieran, all MP’s in Western Sydney, whether they are Labor or Liberal all agree that there should be a curfew if an airport is built in Western Sydney. It’s an old saying but it’s true, ‘What is good for the goose is good for the gander’ and if it’s good enough for the Eastern Suburbs to have a curfew then it’s good enough for the Western Suburbs to have a curfew as well. Infrastructure is expensive and if you listen to what Jamie said talking about freight then there is the prospect potentially of needing to build a freight line into the airport as well and an intermodal facility. The cost of infrastructure could get more and more expensive over time.

GILBERT: Overall you like the idea of this job creating, productivity enhancing initiative as the Government argues it will be.

CLARE: Definitely, airports act as a magnet for jobs but in Western Sydney we’ve got more people than jobs. There are 200,000 people who have to leave Western Sydney everyday to get a job. We are sometimes called squinters because we are sitting on the M2 and M4 and on the M5 driving into the sun in the morning and driving into the sun into the afternoon.

The argument I’d make is that an airport in and of itself is not enough to create the jobs that we need in Western Sydney and I’d ask the Government in the spirit of bipartisanship to look at masterplanning this site. So it’s not just jobs building the airport or operating the airport but that we masterplan this airport to create tech parks, industry parks. Here’s an idea, get the University of Western Sydney involved in this as well, they might set up a campus there and make sure that we are creating the jobs we need in Western Sydney for the decades to come.

GILBERT: You’re colleague Michelle Rowland again a Labor, Western Sydney MP has called for jobs to be guaranteed for Western Sydney graduates, is that realistic? Can a government do that? Surely it’s up to those contractors those building it, delivering the infrastructure to decide who and how they employ.

CLARE: What I would say is, create the job opportunities and I think it will be Western Sydney university graduates as well as the people of Western Sydney generally who will get the jobs in that area. They are the ones who live down the road or who will live down the road as the growth centres are built and at the moment they are the ones having to travel an hour and a half sometimes to get here into the CBD for a job. We want to make sure people are travelling north or south, or staying in their own backyard rather than having to make the big hike into Sydney and if we get this right, if the Government gets this right and builds more than just an airport and more than just roads we can create more jobs for the people we represent.

GILBERT: Yesterday the Prime Minister said, in terms of the curfew when asked about it, that very few people would be affected given the flight plan and trajectories in Western Sydney at Badgerys Creek, vis-à-vis the situation at Kingsford Smith. I think the number was 4,000 as opposed to 130,000 people that could be affected by aircraft noise. What do you say to that when the Government puts that point in response to suggestions that there needs to be a curfew in the second airport in Badgerys?

CLARE: Kieran it’s just a question of fairness, if we’ve got a curfew in the Eastern Suburbs or the North shore there should also be a curfew in the Western Suburbs as well. Tony Abbott made the same point in the press conference –

GILBERT: Isn’t it about viability as well? If it’s going to make the airport not viable in terms of the spill over from Kingsford smith, why is that such a deal breaker in your view?

CLARE: Kieran lets be very clear about this, it’s not a question of viability. The Prime Minister himself in the same Press Conference said that most people don’t want to fly at night. This will be principally a domestic airport, at least in the early stages and most of us want to fly during the day. Most of the flights will be during the day and I’ll tell you what, most of us when we wake up would rather get woken up by an alarm clock than a 747. You made the same point in an interview just a few moments ago that it’s a fair enough point, that if there’s a curfew in the east there should be a curfew in the west. I’d say to Tony Abbott make this decision before now before the people of Western Sydney force you to make this decision.

GILBERT: Jason Clare, appreciate your time. Thanks so much for that.

CLARE: Good on you, thanks Kieran.