Australia's New Prime Minister Opposes Airport Noise

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When Kevin Rudd was sworn in as Australia's new prime minister earlier this month, among the items on his agenda was airport noise. Rudd has worked in the past to oppose expansion of the Brisbane Airport, and now is looking into imposing a curfew, the Courier-Mail reported this week. The curfew could ban aircraft operations between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., a move that opponents say would discourage international flights and devestate the tourism industry. During the campaign, Rudd promised hundreds of suburbanites who live below the flightpaths that he would pursue the curfew. Now his opponents say that he needs to put the national interest above the needs of just a few supporters. Rudd has said that a similar curfew imposed at Sydney Airport doesn't seem to have affected its commercial viability. "Brisbane offers some of the best approaches and departures from a noise-mitigation perspective of any airport in the country," transport spokesman Warren Truss told the Courier-Mail. "It is time Kevin Rudd realised he was Prime Minister of Australia and needs to take the national interest into account rather than just the concerns of one or two of his constituents."