Anger over Sydney runway noise
By Barry Healy
SYDNEY — Federal minister for transport Laurie Brereton is embroiled in another controversy following the disastrous opening of the third runway at Sydney airport to commercial traffic on November 5. Residents all over the city have been complaining about noise levels from flights which, according to maps produced for the environmental impact statement, are not supposed to come anywhere near them.
Thousands of outraged residents have jammed the Civil Aviation Authority's noise complaint hot line. The CAA's response came through operations support manager Greg Marks, who said that the reason why areas away from the EIS flight path map are affected is because regulations allow aircraft to deviate up to eight degrees from a designated route.
"It certainly appears that members of the public have not understood that a line drawn on a map does not necessarily represent a flight path", he said. Brereton has now instructed the CAA to publish more realistic maps and instruct aircraft to comply to them.
One Marrickville resident who has complained, Col Hesse, told Green Left: "Basically there's planes flying all over the place. They're further west than the authorities said they would be. For me that means a fairly constant background noise. It's especially heavy just after 6am, when the curfew lifts, and just before 11pm, when the curfew's supposed to start."
Like many people, Hesse says that the curfew is being breached. Planes are flying through the night.
The problems don't end with noise. "The first week it opened, the smell of kerosene was incredible", Hesse said.
He has complained direct to his local member, ALP left-winger Jeanette McHugh, who was part of the opposition to the construction to the runway.
"I wouldn't disparage the people who ran that campaign", Hesse says. "But they were all ALPers, and really the ALP is treating people here like a pack of fools. They know that people around here don't have an alternative that's big enough to vote for.
"There are differences between Labor and Liberal", he said. "But the results seem nearly the same in the end.
"It's bloody stupid to now have planes roaring around all over the very tourist spots people are coming to see."