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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

20 January 2000

INQUIRY INTO NEW SYDNEY AIRPORT RADAR


Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has directed a public inquiry be held into the potential environmental impacts of the proposed precision radar monitoring system at Sydney Airport.

Known as a precision runway monitor (PRM), the system is intended to allow the capacity of the airport to be maintained during the morning and afternoon peaks in periods of bad weather. The introduction of the PRM system has been proposed by Airservices Australia to ensure that Sydney Airport is able to meet the demand generated by the Sydney Olympics.

The introduction of the PRM system is likely to result in some changes to the pattern of aircraft noise to the north of the airport.

"The requirement for a public inquiry demonstrates the commitment of the Federal Government to ensure a rigorous and transparent assessment of potential environmental issues. The inquiry will provide an important opportunity for the community to have its say on the proposal to introduce the precision radar monitoring system," Senator Hill said.

The public inquiry is to be conducted under Commonwealth environmental law (the Environment Protection (Impact of Proposals) Act 1974). It will be only the 6th public inquiry conducted under the EPIP Act since its enactment.

The terms of reference require the inquiry to report on the changes in the environmental impacts associated with aircraft noise which will occur as a result of the introduction of the precision radar monitoring, in particular, through changes in aircraft noise exposure patterns. The inquiry will also report on any measures required to minimise relevant impacts.

Dr D F (Don) McMichael CBE has been appointed to conduct the public inquiry. Dr McMichael has had a distinguished professional career spanning more than 30 years, including periods as head of the Commonwealth Environment Department and the Director of the National Museum of Australia.

Senator Hill has asked Dr McMichael to report to him by 14 April 2000. The inquiry will shortly call for public submissions on the proposal, and is expected also to conduct public hearings in response to key submissions.

Terms of reference are on the Environment Australia website: www.environment.gov.au

Media contact: Rod Bruem 02 6277 7640 0419 258 364

Commonwealth of Australia