Airport 'consultations' cause uproar

Issue 

Airport 'consultations' cause uproar

By Cameron Parker

SYDNEY — Called by the federal government's hastily established Sydney Airport Community Consultative Committee (SACCC), a series of highly charged public meetings in Newtown, Hunters Hill, Leichhardt, Marrickville and Kurnell proved that the anger and frustration felt by residents have not dissipated since the opening of the third runway last November.

At the Leichhardt meeting, attended by 250 people, resident after resident chastised SACCC chairperson Joe Riordan for his unwillingness to make a record of proceedings, his apparent support of flawed environmental impact assessments and incorrect flight path maps and his uncompromising support for state and federal Labor governments.

The federal government is not bound to accept recommendations made by the SACCC, even though it is essentially composed of people from the Labor and Liberal parties. These "community representatives" are appointed primarily by federal MPs whose seats are near the airport.

At the Marrickville meeting, the Labor candidate for the federal seat of Grayndler, Anthony Albanese, caused uproar when he announced that he is one such community representative. From the podium, Albanese yelled at and heckled members of the audience for not understanding the "value" of the government's consultation process.

The blockade of Sydney International Airport on July 2 has shown that residents are still willing to take action to mobilise against the federal Labor government's expansionist plans for the airport. Another action is planned for August. n