Senate Estimates: Rural and Region Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee (Infrastructure Australia)
Monday, February 24, 2014
Senator RHIANNON: In recent years a number of places around Sydney have been suggested as sites for a supplementary or second airport. Has any modelling or analysis been prepared by your agency regarding the impact of a curfew at a potential second or supplementary Sydney airport in terms of passenger numbers and the like?
Mr Mrdak : The joint study review that was undertaken a couple of years ago looked at every available site that is possible for development of a secondary airport for Sydney and in terms of the business analysis that was undertaken for the joint study, it certainly looked at the sorts of factors that would have to be in place for an airport to be viable. All of these site searches were done on the basis of operating 24 hours.
Senator RHIANNON: So the assumption was that it would have to operate 24 hours, so were there no proposals about curfews?
Mr Mrdak : Certainly, to look at future development sites, ideally you would look at sites that can operate 24 hours.
Senator RHIANNON: Has the government sought your advice at any stage since the last election prior to announcing in-principle support for Badgerys Creek as a location for Sydney's second or supplementary airport?
Mr Mrdak : The government has undertaken within this first term of office to settle the site for Sydney's second major airport. That consideration is ongoing.
Senator RHIANNON: So, you are saying that no site has been nominated?
Mr Mrdak : The government has not made any announcement at this stage.
Senator RHIANNON: Could you briefly explain what you understand the purpose of shoulders on either side of a curfew period is?
Mr Mrdak : Under the Sydney Airport Curfew Act?
Senator RHIANNON: I imagine that it is uniform around the country, but it is with regard to Adelaide airport that the issue has come up.
Mr Mrdak : There are only a limited number of airports in the country that have statutory curfews. Shoulder periods are designed to provide some limited flexibility to accommodate, particularly, as we discussed with Senator Gallacher a little while ago, where you have operating parameters such as availability of slots at other airports which necessitates operation of slots in that proximate hours, either at the beginning or at the end of the curfew periods.
Senator RHIANNON: I think this is the final question. It is about the type of flights because I noted that in December 2013, Minister Truss allowed a request from Cathay Pacific for four international passenger flights per week to arrive in Adelaide at 5.10 in the morning on a Friday. Now that is outside of the curfew, but just inside the shoulder period. Given these are just scheduled flights—they are not emergency landings or the like—do they undermine the purpose of a curfew and shoulder arrangements?
Mr Mrdak : No, they do not. They are provided for in the legislation.
Senator RHIANNON: So there is no expectation that a shoulder should only be used in emergency situations?
Mr Mrdak : No, the legislation provides for the ministers to enable such operations to meet scheduling requirements.
Senator RHIANNON: Thank you.
ACTING CHAIR: Okay. We will adjourn till 10 to five.