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Albanese's world of make believe on Greens policies

Lee Rhiannon 7 May 2015

This blog post is a reponse to Anthony Albanese's article in The Australian (05/05) Sydney without an airport - welcome to the fantasy world of the Greens


Let's get real.

Anthony Albanese's diatribe about the Greens transport policy is not really about the Greens transport policy.

It is about his seat of Grayndler, which after the recent state election has taken one step closer to becoming a Greens seat.

Grayndler covers much of the territory of the state seats of Newtown and Balmain. The Greens won both seats in this year's NSW state election. It was a significant defeat for Labor.

With Labor having very little to offer progressive voters combined with the shift in voter allegiance in Sydney's inner west and the possibility of an early federal election Albanese is getting desperate.

He does not provide real solutions to the noise and air pollution problems associated with Sydney Airport, just a targeted attack on the Greens, accusing the party of "fantasy world" transport policies.

Albanese's sprays of half-truths and outright lies are designed to divert attention from Labor's failures.

Albanese has been a Member of Parliament for 19 years and in that time, airport noise in the inner west has increased.

A supplementary airport at Badgerys Creek could see smaller planes moved permanently to the second site with Sydney Airport taking larger, noisier jets.

As a result, aircraft noise in the inner west is likely to increase - something Albanese fails to address. Nor has Albanese explained to the people of Western Sydney why they will have to live with a 24/7 airport and not have the benefit of a Sydney Airport style curfew.

There is another element to Albanese's warped approach to airport issues. Western Sydney seats are now critical to which party forms government. Badgerys Creek Airport has become the latest battle ground between Labor and the Coalition trying to outdo each other with their promises of ever more jobs.

The alleged 60,000 jobs growth linked with Badgerys Creek and trumpeted by Labor, the Coalition, several Western Sydney councils as well as Unions NSW has not been substantiated. The biggest beneficiaries of the promised Badgerys Creek Airport would be developers and business owners who could make millions from rezoning and public subsidies.

The Greens policy sets out the need for a replacement airport outside Sydney Basin air shed (within which Sydney's air pollution circulates) connected to Sydney by High Speed Rail. We want to start a conversation about how our future infrastructure needs can be a driver of sustainable economic activity.

Albanese is wrong to say that "Sydney would be the only global city without an airport". A number of international cities, including Oslo and Hong Kong, have relocated their airports. Athens gained a replacement international airport for the 2004 Olympics, 35 kilometres outside the city, connected by a toll road and Metro.

Despite what Albanese states the Greens do not oppose the Moorebank Intermodal or safety upgrades on the Pacific Highway. With the former we have suggested that it would be more efficient to decentralise this transport hub to create a number of hubs across Sydney. This would reduce the congestion burden on local residents.

The Greens have been solid backers of road safety upgrades and to say otherwise is downright insulting. What we always add to our message is the need to expand freight and commuter rail services. Decreasing congestion on our roads is a key way to make them safer.

Labor's culture of misinformation persists.

If Albanese thinks he is winning hearts and minds by Green-bashing he would be wise to reassess why Labor's vote is dropping in inner city seats.

Most people are looking for leadership in progressive politics. This is needed not just for the people of Grayndler, but for the whole country if we are to have any chance of beating this cruel Liberal/National government.

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