Yesterday the Department of Infrastructure (what used to be Transport) released an aviation green paper.
The exec summary is the best bit to read if you’re short on time but in particular section 8, which I’ve reproduced below.
They plan to stop Canberra Airport developing land willy nilly without reference to local planning controls.
But on the upside for the darkness on the edge of town, the race is now well and truly on to be Sydney’s second airport. This is the other shoe dropping after the very fast train was revived.
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Older readers will recall this was all stuff which consumed the Hawke/Keating years. The more things change, the more they stay the same…
8. Airport investment – planning for responsible growth
Australia’s major airports are our economic and social gateways to the world. Since privatisation there has been significantly increased investment in airports, with over $2.2 billion invested in new terminals, runways and other infrastructure at the leased federal airports. Further investment in excess of $4 billion is scheduled in the near future. However, concerns have grown about the impacts of airport development on surrounding communities. With the growth of Australian cities, more residents are affected by airport operations.
The Government recognises the importance of continued investment in aeronautical infrastructure at airports, and is committed to ensuring infrastructure development is responsible. The Government will ensure planning for leased federal airport sites is more integrated with planning for the surrounding areas, and the interests of communities are given proper consideration in planning and development processes.
There is no intention to over-regulate, or to make the planning and approval process so cumbersome as to deter investment. A coordinated approach to planning brings benefits for both the airport and the community.
Proposals for non-aeronautical development will be closely scrutinised, recognising concerns that substantial commercial developments on airport land can undermine plans for the development and amenity of surrounding communities.
Airport sites are scarce and valuable. The Government will make sure planning of the airport site is consistent with its long-term development as an airport, and that planning supports the optimal mix of aeronautical uses.
The encroachment of city development around airports, particularly the secondary airports at capital cities, has increased the pressure for airport land to be used for other purposes with potentially higher commercial returns. The Government respects the right of the airport operators to a reasonable return on capital invested, but will not support proposals for the site to be used for commercial purposes which prevent the site from reaching its full potential as an airport.
The Government will also ensure airport infrastructure needs are met well into the future.
The pressure on Sydney Airport and the demand for aviation capacity in the greater Sydney region is an ongoing cause for concern. Sydney Airport is approaching capacity and there is broad community support for the maintenance of a legislated curfew and cap on movements at Sydney Airport.
The Government is committed to ensuring future economic activity and growth in the Sydney region is not constrained by the capacity limitations of the Sydney Airport site.
Sydney Airport Corporation Limited has begun its five-yearly revision of its Airport Master Plan.
The plan, which sets out the forecast of activity and development at the airport for the next twenty years, will be finalised following consultation with the community, industry stakeholders and government agencies over the coming months.
This Master Plan process will provide further information about the future patterns of traffic at Sydney Airport and the implications of continued growth for the airport, operators and the community.
Following the completion of the Sydney Airport Master Plan in 2009, the Government proposes to begin a process to identify additional capacity for the Sydney region, consistent with Government policy of support for a second airport for Sydney.
The construction of an airport at Badgerys Creek is no longer an option.
A new level of cooperation is required between federal, state and local government on airport planning and development, with clear consultation and decision-making processes. For airport operators, it is essential that local planning schemes support the development of the airport and prevent development which would impact on current and future operations. In turn, planning authorities are seeking more effective input to airport development processes. The Government proposes to work with state governments to refine proposals for effective working arrangements, including the key initiatives outlined below:
• establishment of Airport Planning Advisory Panels, drawn from industry, community and government, for each of the major airports, to provide independent expert analysis and advice to the Minister;
• examining the impact of airport development on surrounding transport and community infrastructure and how the leased federal airports might contribute to this infrastructure;
• strengthening of the airport Master Planning process to provide greater transparency and certainty about future land uses at the airports;
• providing a power for the Minister to call for additional detail in precinct plans for areas which have been proposed for non-aeronautical development;
• a review of triggers for the airport major development process to ensure those developments of most interest to the community are subject to proper consultation;
• establishment of community consultation groups at each airport to foster effective community engagement in airport planning issues; and
• establishment of a clear policy on the definition of public safety zone areas around airports, which can be taken into account in local planning.
Airports are critical for isolated communities. The Government will provide support for the upgrade of aerodromes to improve safe access to essential air services in remote parts of Australia through the Remote Aerodrome Safety Program.
Our aviation infrastructure will no longer be viewed in isolation from national infrastructure planning.
The Government will work closely with Infrastructure Australia to ensure the development of major airports is considered as part of Australia’s broader infrastructure strategy.