«COMMERCIAL RADIO INQUIRY Report of the Australian Broadcasting Authority Hearing into Radio 2UE Sydney Pty Limited February 2000 Sydney ISBN 0 642 ...»
MR JONES: But then, if Qantas were asked where that should be, they would say - ‘Well, that is not our job.’ MR DIXON: Well, we don’t believe it is our job and we probably wouldn’t have much— MR JONES: But you wouldn’t go to Badgerys Creek?
MR DIXON: If they do a second airport for the overflow traffic and we have to put people there, we would. But, our preference is to stay exactly where we are, of course.
MR JONES: Kerry Bartlett, just coming back to you. It seems extraordinary that this is supposed to be an Environmental Impact Statement. If we just took one issue, that is, just the business of actually getting fuel of the area, 500,000 litres of fuel a day would have to be transported out there. Where is the Environmental Impact Statement talking about the impact of that on the environment?
MR BARTLETT: Well, it doesn’t cover enough of those infrastructure problems in anywhere near enough detail. Infrastructure of road and rail connections and as you say, fuel connections, just are really underdone. There is a cost probably at least of another billion dollars to add those connections in.
MR JONES: There are currently no road or rail links and no supporting infrastructure between Sydney and Badgerys Creek.
MR BARTLETT: Certainly not of the sort that you would need if you had an international airport there, nowhere near it.
MR JONES: So, where on earth is all this money going to come from?
MR BARTLETT: Well, that will come from taxpayers initially, and then when the airports are sold, then that will come from the buyers, but it will reduce the value, the sale value. If you have got an airport in western Sydney that is not viable, that is not making a profit. You reduce the capacity – you reduce the value of the asset of Kingsford Smith and Sydney Airport.
MR JONES: Just let me go to Geoff Dixon again. Geoff, where, how, would you get 500,000 litres of fuel a day to Badgerys Creek?
MR DIXON: Oh, Alan, that is not my expertise.
MR JONES: But you are dealing with this everyday. You have got to get your fuel everyday and Kurnell is right near you. So, of course, that is facilitated by the proximity to the very whereby your industry lives.
MR DIXON: But these are always the problems you have with a new airport anywhere in the world. I mean, you have to get all the facilities there to them. As I said, we really do believe, Alan, that is very important to have a second airport at some stage in the Sydney Basin. Now, it doesn’t have to be a major airport at this stage. But Sydney will suffer if, in the long term, KSA gets to its maximum capacity. At some stage or another, you will need a second airport.
This is a big city.
MR JONES: I will talk to Allan Ezzy in a moment. He represents the locals out there. Just back to the Member for Macquarie who has been talking about this for years. Now, they are talking about two parallel runways on an approximate north-south alignment in addition to a cross-wind runway. But then, they are saying - ‘Well, you need more land, another 1,150 hectares above that already owned by the Commonwealth.’ MR BARTLETT: Well, there are several options put in the EIS, Alan, one is north-south, the other one is south-west north-east and two variations on that one with a cross one runway and one without. So, it really depends on what sort of option. Can I just revisit one point, though, and that is the capacity for Kingsford Smith. It has got to be remembered that something like 30% of flights coming in and out of Kingsford Smith Airport are small regional aircraft carrying 20 to 30 people. That is the obvious starting point to increasing Kingsford Smith’s capacity.
Our average number of people on a flight in and out of Kingsford Smith is less than 70. World best practices over 200— MR JONES: Right.
MR BARTLETT: —really be thinking about moving some of those smaller aircraft out to Bankstown. That greatly increases our capacity and extends the life of Kingsford Smith.
MR JONES: Asking air traffic controllers to get a on, so that the capacity of the airport can be extended.
MR BARTLETT: Sure.
MR JONES: Now, the former Labor Government of which you were a member— MR BARTLETT: No, no, no. I wasn’t a member of the Labor Government.
MR JONES: I see. Well, it extended, I mean, you were in the Parliament I am saying. They extended the runway from the original 1800 metres to 2900 metres. What is the point of a proposal where you can only land but not take off?
MR BARTLETT: Well, it depends on what sort of proposal you are going to end up there. The options in the current EIS have runways up to 4,000 metres. So, it covers the whole range of aircraft. But, again, you have to got to look at which option you are going to go with. People in western Sydney say none of those options are acceptable.
MR JONES: Geoff Dixon, if I could just go to you. If I walked out today blindfolded to Kingsford Smith Airport at 1 o’clock, I could most probably walk wherever I liked and not be at risk, the place is just like a morgue. I mean, how can anyone argue in the light of current utilisation that we are in fact getting maximum usage from Kingsford Smith?
MR DIXON: I am not sure anybody argues at the moment that we get maximum usage from Kingsford Smith. There are obviously limitations and they are being put on there. Our view is that the limitations should be the least possible and the airport should be able to go to its maximum capacity.
MR JONES: Do we have a tougher view by Air Traffic Controllers here than views which prevail in other comparable countries?
MR DIXON: Well, air traffic control systems are different in each country, there is no doubt about that. But, you have got to remember, we have a very, very good aviation system in Australia.
MR JONES: We do. But after 11 o’clock in the morning, you can hardly see a plane coming in or going out.
MR DIXON: But, Alan, that is also a bit to do with demand as you understand. People who are arriving from overseas, or from Melbourne, really want to get in at a peak time and that is one of the problems— MR JONES: Would you consider, for example, would Qantas consider as a matter of public policy changing the fare structure to bias cheaper fares towards those people leaving later in the day?
MR DIXON: Already do that, Alan. Many of our deep discounts and 60% of our business is deep discounted at the moment is put in at times when it is not as busy. I mean, you don’t get that many deep discount seats at 8 a.m. in the morning, you are getting them really from around about 10.30 through to about 3. That is the policy already in, not just us, it is other airlines as well.
MR JONES: Congratulations, yesterday your people worked like absolute dogs to try and sort of make up that backlog, A tough day, eh?
MR DIXON: Thanks very much. It was a tough day. We are getting back to it today.
MR JONES: That was Geoff Dixon from Qantas. Now, I have got Allan Ezzy – stay with me, Kerry Bartlett – who is the Chairman of the Western Sydney Alliance. Allan Ezzy, good morning. What do you make of all of this?
MR EZZY: Well, it is just a continuing saga.
MR JONES: It is. It must be very disillusioning to people out there. They don’t know where they stand.
MR EZZY: That’s right. It has gone on for 20 years now, and no government has had the guts to make the decision to abandon it. They just keep keeping people on a string.
MR JONES: But yesterday was a big fog day. I spoke to pilots last year, who told me that if an airport goes to Badgerys Creek, you can forget about fog, it will close the place down for long periods every year.
MR EZZY: That’s right. On average, there is 40 days a year that it is fog-bound. I was out there the day before yesterday, and the fog wasn’t lifting before 11 o’clock. Then, yesterday, we had it again. It was a black fog out there yesterday.
MR JONES: Then there is a question about turbulence coming off the Blue Mountains during westerly winds.
MR EZZY: That’s right. There is nothing going for the site, environmentally, economically or anything. I can’t understand why the government just don’t bite the bullet and say - ‘It is not on. Yes, we need a second airport, but we need it outside the Sydney Basin.’ All the figures indicate that if Kingsford Smith is properly run, and it is less than 50% efficiency at the moment, if it is correctly run with overseas standards, then you are looking about 2015 before you really need to start to look for a second airport.
MR JONES: Without being an alarmist, it ought to be some concern that planes would be flying over Warragamba and Prospect Dams. So, the consequences of water pollution must at least have some significance.
MR EZZY: That is right. Everything is against it. This EIS that came out yesterday, all it has done is just looked at the environmental downsides, not even been costed—
MR EZZY: —economic benefits.
MR JONES: Warragamba Dam isn’t even mentioned, nor is the prospect of carting 500,000 litres of fuel. Thank you for your time. I will just go back to Kerry Bartlett, the Member for Macquarie. So, where do you think this is going to finish up?
MR BARTLETT: Cabinet will be looking at it over the next couple of months, and in the meantime, I will keep making my case against Badgerys Creek. The answer has to be to make better use of Kingsford Smith and then start to look at longer term options.
MR JONES: You can’t take five and a half billion dollars of taxpayers money to Badgerys Creek with all of these shadows over the proposal surely?
MR BARTLETT: You certainly can’t, not for a solution that won’t work. The bottom line is that it won’t solve Sydney’s problems anyway. You don’t solve Sydney’s air traffic problems by duplicating them in western Sydney at high cost and creating high environment cost as well.
MR JONES: Good to talk to you. Thanks for your time.762 2UE’s Submission to the Hearing In addition to the general submissions made by 2UE, 2UE also made the following
submissions in relation to this broadcast:
One of the factors which may limit the scope and nature of the alleged assumption of disinterestedness (assuming it to exist) is the extent to which the announcer may have become associated in the public mind with the third party because of the announcer’s participation in a campaign of live read advertising. Mr Jones performed a significant number of live read advertisements for QANTAS over a period of years.
The broadcast is an interview and many of the statements of opinion emanate from the interviewee. The interest of the interviewee is made clear from his position. Listeners know by whom they are being persuaded.
There is no evidence that QANTAS required Jones to conduct the interview. The evidence is that the topic was of current interest because of the release of the EIS.763 The Panel’s Findings The Panel finds that this broadcast is a current affairs program. It purports to concern matters focussing on political, social and economic issues of relevance to the community arising from the release of the Environmental Impact Statement into the Badgerys Creek airport proposal.
The Panel finds the available fact of Mr Jones commercial agreement with Qantas was withheld. The existence of Mr Jones’ commercial agreement with Qantas was not disclosed in the broadcast.
The Panel finds that this available fact was relevant because:
♦ the issue was of concern to Qantas. Mr Jones was aware that Qantas did not wish to move to Badgerys Creek.764 During the interview, it was reestablished that Qantas have never wanted to move to Badgerys Creek. Mr Dixon says ‘Happy where we are, that’s right’;765 ♦ Mr Jones suggested that it would be imprudent to spend taxpayers’ money on building a second airport at Badgerys Creek when the Environmental Impact Statement was QAN.0007.0080 Submission made by 2UE – Alan Jones Broadcasts – Breach of Clause 2.2(d) of Code of Practice 2, C29 During an interview with Mr Dixon on 28 June 1999, Mr Dixon said to Mr Jones ‘Well, we’ve never wanted to go to Badgerys Creek, of course’ – QAN.0008.0002 QAN.0007.0080 deficient. Mr Jones says ‘It seems extraordinary that this is supposed to be an Environmental Impact Statement. If we just took one issue, that is, just the business of actually getting fuel of the area, 500,000 litres of fuel a day would have to be transported out there. Where is the Environmental Impact Statement talking about the impact of that on the environment?’;766 and ♦ the broadcast was favourable to Qantas. Mr Jones and all of the interviewees shared the opinion of Qantas that a second airport at Badgerys Creek was not prudent.
The Panel notes 2UE’s submission that an extensive live read campaign for Qantas read by Mr Jones may have caused him to become associated with Qantas in the minds of listeners.
However, clause 3.1(a) provides that advertisements must not be presented as news programs or other programs. To the extent that the presentation of any live read advertisement is capable of causing confusion in listeners’ minds with the editorial comment of Mr Jones, the Panel would be concerned that those live read advertisements may have breached clause 3.1(a).
The Panel therefore does not accept the submission of 2UE in this regard.
The Panel notes the submission of 2UE that the interests of the interviewees are clear and hence listeners know who is persuading them. The Panel does not accept this submission.
While the interviewees’ positions are declared, Mr Jones’ interest is not. Mr Jones has a financial agreement with Qantas, but there is no disclosure of it.
The Panel also notes 2UE’s submission that there is no evidence that Qantas required the material to be broadcast by Mr Jones. The Panel does not accept this submission. Whether Qantas caused the material to be broadcast is irrelevant in this context.
The Panel finds that, in the presentation of a current affairs program, Mr Jones presented material in a misleading manner by withholding a relevant available fact, namely the existence of a commercial relationship between himself and Qantas.
The Panel finds 2UE to be in breach of clause 2.2(d) of the Codes.
Optus Administration Pty Limited The Panel notes its finding that Mr Jones was aware of the existence of his commercial relationship with Optus (please see page 45).