Airport call to arms

Unity is critical: Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon was one of many speakers calling for a united front to fight the planned Western Sydney Airport.

Unity is critical: Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon was one of many speakers calling for a united front to fight the planned Western Sydney Airport.

Nearly 500 people converged on Glenbrook on Saturday afternoon to discuss and fight the proposed Western Sydney Airport.

Firmly opposed: Aircraft noise, air quality and human health concerns were just some of the issues raised at the community meeting about the airport.

Firmly opposed: Aircraft noise, air quality and human health concerns were just some of the issues raised at the community meeting about the airport.

Organised by Blue Mountains City Council as a forum for the community to voice their concerns, the meeting was attended by councillors, and politicians including Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon and MLC Mehreen Faruqi and Labor’s Member for Blue Mountains Trish Doyle, Member for Macquarie Susan Templeman and Senator Doug Cameron.

Following the release of the final EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) the mood was one of anger and concern that the airport could proceed without addressing environmental concerns, and there was a call for unification among political groups and western Sydney residents in fighting the airport at Badgerys Creek.

No airport: Blue Mountains residents Pat Biczo, Helen McFadden, Deb Emelhain and Sharyn Klein at the meeting.

No airport: Blue Mountains residents Pat Biczo, Helen McFadden, Deb Emelhain and Sharyn Klein at the meeting.

Blue Mountains mayor Mark Greenhill proposed the community rally together at Bowman Hall in Blacktown, where Gough Whitlam famously delivered his ‘It’s Time’ speech, which met with widespread support.

“The voice of the community remains loud and clear in its opposition to the airport proposal,” Cr Greenhill said.

Mt Riverview’s Janie Bury said if the federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg wouldn’t attend this meeting, then the people should go to him. Her call to arms to pay him a visit in Canberra drew strong support. 

Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon and ALP Senator Doug Cameron both spoke of the importance of unity.

“Our unity is critical at this point. We need a strong unity between the community, Labor, Liberals and the Greens,” Senator Rhiannon said. “If we are united we will win no Western Sydney Airport.”

“There’s no action in St Mary’s, Erskine Park and St Clair to match what’s happening here,” said Senator Cameron. “We need to unite with western Sydney. You can’t do it on your own.”

Residents Against Western Sydney Airport (RAWSA) were vocal at the meeting.

RAWSA president Peter Dollin said: “Now is the time to get angry, get loud and get organised.” 

“We need to get into western Sydney and argue with those guys.” 

Tony Green, a risk assessor and RAWSA researcher said: “It’s [the proposed airport] is in the wrong place. If it’s outside of the Sydney basin then the risks don’t accumulate.”

St Clair resident Peter Moriarty said he wouldn’t be able to sleep with planes flying overhead, and said politicians in his area were “bludging on the job”. 

“Penrith council are sitting on their hands. They’re not representing the people. We need to be represented by a strong council that opposes it [the airport], not one that sits on their hands.”

Mr Frydenberg will decide on the EIS viability in November.

Federal Member for Macquarie Susan Templeman encouraged the community to contact Mr Frydenberg telling him what they think of the EIS and why he shouldn’t approve it.

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