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Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
3 September 1999
Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has completed a review of the Badgerys Creek Airport environmental impact assessment, saying there is no insurmountable environmental issue that would prevent the project proceeding.
However Senator Hill says that in the event of Government approval of the project, the cumulative impacts will require careful environmental management.
He has made a total of 41 environment-related recommendations to the Minister for Transport.
"The recommendations deal with issues such as the management of aircraft noise, air quality, infrastructure planning and the protection of natural and cultural values at the proposed second Sydney airport site," Senator Hill said.
"Federal environmental legislation provides that these recommendations must be taken into account by the government in considering the Badgerys Creek proposals."
Senator Hill said the environmental impact statement (EIS) for Badgerys Creek was the most rigorous and comprehensive in Australia's history.
"It has taken more than 3 years and cost more than $13.5 million. Nearly 5 months has been provided for public comment, with more than 15,600 submissions received.
"In addition, the Government appointed an independent environmental auditor to examine the EIS process and its methodology. This is the first project in Australia to have ever been subject to an independent environmental auditor during the assessment phase.
"The recommendations propose the establishment of a rigorous and comprehensive environmental management regime that is consistent with world's best practice. The environmental management regime is designed to ensure all environmental issues associated with the construction and operation of an airport at Badgerys Creek are properly managed," Senator Hill said.
The recommendations build upon the environmental management framework established by the Airports Act 1996, which would require the preparation of an airport master plan and an airport environment strategy for Badgerys Creek.
The recommendations deal with all aspects of the potential airport development including:
Senator Hill said the recommendations would require immediate action on environmental measures such as the collection of baseline data on air quality and health indicators, the identification of initiatives to protect flora, fauna and cultural heritage.
"The Government has made a massive investment in the environmental assessment process for Badgerys Creek to ensure that the community, particularly in Western Sydney can be confident that the process has been comprehensive, independent and technically sound.
"The integrity of the process will ensure the Government is properly informed of all significant environmental issues when further considering the matter," Senator Hill said.
Media contact: Rod Bruem (02) 6277 7640 or 041112 8582