I spoke today about changes to flight paths out of Canberra airport to help address resident concerns regarding aircraft noise.
26 June 2014
Canberra Airport is a vital transport hub and employment generator within the ACT region. I am pleased to have it located within my electorate because of the pivotal role that it plays throughout the ACT region, but it has been of some concern to me to ensure that Canberra Airport does not impact unnecessarily on surrounding residents. Two years ago I worked, through then Minister Albanese, to contact Airservices Australia to discuss the issue of the Melbourne flight path. I was concerned that the northward growth of suburbs in the Gungahlin region would mean that planes flying north and then turning west might cause noise over areas which had previously been unpopulated—suburbs such as Forde, Bonner, Jacka, Moncrieff, Taylor and Throsby.
I thank Stephen Byron and Noel McCann, from Canberra Airport, and Airservices Australia for the constructive way they have since then worked with the Canberra community to consider changes to the Melbourne departure flight path. In technical terms, jet aircraft departing from runway 35 for destinations to the west can currently turn when they reach 7,000 feet. There is now a proposed amendment so that jets will turn later, avoiding residential areas. That is undergoing an environmental assessment and there are ongoing conversations with the Community Aviation Consultation Group and the Gungahlin Community Council, ably led by Ewan Brown.
I trust that that resolution will be successful and that it will be possible to make a tweak to the Melbourne departure flight path to ensure the impact of aircraft noise on suburbs north of Gungahlin is minimised. It is important that we move these flight paths before suburbs extend northwards so that we can continue the situation which has, to a large extent, existed in the Canberra region: a thriving airport bringing economic activity, tourists and friends to the region—not to mention my fellow parliamentarians—with, at the same time, a minimal impact on the residents of the north side of Canberra. I look forward to working with residents on this and make a commitment to them that my door is open for any Canberra resident wishing to pursue this issue.