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Fischer says Tralee may doom hope for rail link

Date

John Thistleton

Tim Fischer.

Tim Fischer. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer has weighed into the Canberra Airport flight-path debate, saying approval of the Tralee development would hit the ACT economy and scuttle any chance of high-speed rail for the capital.

The NSW state government is likely to give approval for the $400 million housing project south of Queanbeyan within weeks.

Village Building Company, which proposes to build 1000 homes, says its plans comply with existing rules around non-curfew airports, but a spokesman said Village would not comment again until the NSW government announced a decision.

Canberra Airport managing director Stephen Byron.

Canberra Airport managing director Stephen Byron. Photo: Rohan Thomson

Mr Fischer said ''McMansion'' builders would pour into the new development and lobby for a curfew which would restrict the airport's growth and kill plans for a high-speed rail link to Sydney.

''It's a classical case of pitiful short-term gain for massive long-term economic pain,'' he said.

Mr Fischer said Premier Barry O'Farrell must wait until consultancy AECOM Australia's findings are released at the end of this year on the high-speed rail proposal.

Meanwhile, Canberra Airport managing director Stephen Byron wants Mr O'Farrell to intervene in any planning approval.

Mr Byron said the airport had asked for but not received any indication on Tralee from Planning Minister Brad Hazzard before committing to the $42 million international component of its new airport terminal.

Mr Byron said it was galling the government chose to ignore its own Planning Assessment Commission's recommendation, because the commission's role was to improve transparency and independence.

Mr Byron said Canberra and Queanbeyan residents would face noise sharing.

''Today you don't get aircraft over you during the day or during the night. One day you will, when these [Tralee] residents complain.

''Secondly, you will get a curfew at Canberra Airport within a decade of the houses being built and that will curtail the ability of the airport to service the community and people who want to travel.''

Mr Byron said no agreement had been reached with the ACT government on roads, including that the Monaro Highway would not handle traffic from Tralee. Nor had the Commonwealth agreed on environmental protection approvals.

''There is a very long way to go on this,'' he said. ''This is a very poor decision if it comes through, but there is a very long way to go.''

Mr Byron said the decision would compromise Canberra as an overflow airport. ''The most important component is [Canberra's] curfew-free role, to accept aircraft 24 hours a day when Sydney cannot.''

He said Mr O'Farrell's view was aircraft noise should not be imposed on western Sydney residents, and so there should be no second airport within the Sydney basin.

Consequently, Mr O'Farrell's solution was a high speed train to Canberra airport. ''Not only do we lose, the Premier loses his entire policy on the second airport.''

18 comments

  • This decision is as dubious as the decision to give Mr Packer another casino license without having to go to tender. Let the buyer beware. All blocks sold at Tralee should be sold with the agreement that they are subject to aircraft noise. Anyone who buys there needs to be psychiatrically assessed. Of course it's going to impact on the development of Fast rail and the airport. Other than a grubby grab for profit there is no logician this decision whatsoever. The Liberal Party is enthusiastic about holding inquiries into alleged corruption of former Labor government figures. I would like a similar inquiry made into this. It makes no sense.

    Commenter
    Dick Andora
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    November 02, 2012, 8:15AM
    • @ Dick - I don't think there is a lot of logic in this. Nor do I think there is corruption. This is about personalities and vested interests on both sides. What I think has been left out is that we are basing the noise issue on historical standards. World wide aircraft are getting less noisy (fact) because of this precise problem. Secondly we are assuming Canberra is going to become a second airport for Sydney or an International destination - it will never happen. Not saying I support Tralee, just saying there is not a lot of dispassionate or informed debate on either side. So you are right, none of it makes much sense.

      Commenter
      Irene
      Date and time
      November 02, 2012, 8:46AM
  • High speed rail idea was already scuttled by the Labor federal government as currently un-viable Tim and I doubt the HSR rail line would run anywhere near or through Tralee anyway...alot like aircraft flight paths.

    There is the old abandoned and derilict Cooma to Queanbeyan rail line near Tralee that Tim Fischer could have saved and pumped hundreds of millions into when He was in government but it is hardly high speed or even viable since the 1950's as it is quicker, cheaper and easier to drive the distance..as it is Sydney to Canberra.

    Commenter
    dusty
    Date and time
    November 02, 2012, 9:33AM
    • Yet another reason why Tralee should not be approved. Why build a suburb under a flight path that is only going to get busier?

      Commenter
      John121
      Location
      Singapore
      Date and time
      November 02, 2012, 10:03AM
      • He's absolutely right . Self serving yuppies and greedy property developers will act in their usual selfish way to hinder the airport operations. Then we will have the same set of stupid problems that surrounds Sydney airport . Do we ever learn ? And it doesn't have to be that way . The big property pockets have clearly got Fatty O'Barrels attention . Its just another reason why we should abolish the states and have a better governed country.

        Commenter
        Dan
        Date and time
        November 02, 2012, 11:19AM
        • I do not understand how Barry cannot see that this conflicts directly with his vision of Canberra as the second Sydney airport with a fast train link!

          The major selling point of Canberra airport is that it is curfew-free, and will have lots of spare capacity once the redevelopment is complete.

          All of that will be for nothing if the greedy Tralee developers have their way.

          Commenter
          Robert
          Location
          Canberra
          Date and time
          November 02, 2012, 1:36PM
      • Why in this day and age can the NSW government not include a "noise clause" in the land title so that anyone purchasing land near an airport or industrial complex has to accept the noise a part of the land purchase. This clause will then be identified by anyone purchasing property now and in the future and prices will refeclt this clause or zoning.

        Commenter
        Brett
        Location
        Queanbeyan
        Date and time
        November 02, 2012, 11:33AM
        • Because a noise clause would reduce the value of the properties, meaning less profit for favoured developers.

          Commenter
          Meanwhile
          Location
          in the real world
          Date and time
          November 02, 2012, 1:19PM
        • Why not? Because that would hinder the ability to charge what the market would bear for these residences! It is the initial sale price which interests the developer!

          Commenter
          Robert
          Location
          Canberra
          Date and time
          November 02, 2012, 1:30PM
      • If the EIS is correct, the Tralee estate will receive less noise than the Jerrabomberra area, without any changes to the flight paths.

        Does it also seem very rude of the NSW premier that he would prefer the residents of Canberra be subjected to more aircraft noise, in lieu of the Sydney residents? It is highly unlikely that an increase in Canberra’s air traffic can occur without modifications to flight paths (that will result in an addition or increase to current aircraft noise levels?

        Commenter
        Mat
        Location
        Canberra
        Date and time
        November 02, 2012, 12:18PM

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