Campaign against Holsworthy airport

May 7, 1997

Campaign against Holsworthy airport

Margaret Perrott

WOLLONGONG — Several thousand people attended a protest at Stanwell Park in the northern Illawarra on April 21 against the federal government's plan for a second Sydney international airport at Holsworthy.

Just 10 weeks after the federal election, Holsworthy, in Sydney's south-west, was listed as a possible alternative site to Badgery's Creek in Sydney's western suburbs.

Letter-writing and petition signing tents; "Just DON'T do it" T-shirts and signs; a special song, "Not in Sydney Basin"; and hang gliders swooping down from Stanwell tops all featured at the rally. Protesters formed into the word "no" for helicopter TV cameras hovering overhead.

In their statement "10 good reasons to say no to Holsworthy airport", residents list concerns about 24-hour noise pollution, the expected drop in property values and the threat to air quality. Especially important is the danger to the catchment area around the Georges and Woronora Rivers, which supplies drinking water to the Illawarra and southern Sydney.

The menace to the Royal National Park and green corridors serving wildlife — Holsworthy contains the last significant population of koalas in the Sydney basin — has also angered conservationists. Activists claim that at least 11 species of flora and fauna rarely found in the Sydney area are threatened.

The area contains hundreds of important Aboriginal sites, paintings and carvings which would be destroyed if the airport went ahead. As well, the National Trust is opposing the plan because of the area's significant non-indigenous heritage values.

The site's proximity to the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor and tonnes of unexploded shells from former army reserves are also of great concern.

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