Shadow minister for transport and infrastructure Catherine King has revealed Labor’s plans to instate a permanent forum to monitor aircraft noise levels over Brisbane and launch a new white paper into Australia’s national aviation policy.
The white paper would have a particular focus on general aviation and training, to ensure the sector is prepared for post-pandemic recovery and growth.
It comes as the federal government revealed its proposed 2022-23 budget overnight, which introduced no new assistance for Australia’s aviation industry, amid an improving operating environment.
In an opinion piece published in the Courier Mail, King stated Labor’s commitment to ensuring Brisbane residents are satisfied with what is being done in response to ongoing outrage over increasing aircraft noise pollution over inner-city suburbs.
“Aviation is essential to Australia and to Brisbane,” King wrote.
“Labor has long argued that the Morrison-Joyce government needs to take seriously the concerns of residents affected by aircraft noise,” she added.
It comes after residents of inner-city Brisbane suburbs have spent months lobbying and protesting against excessive aircraft noise pollution over their homes following the introduction of Brisbane’s second parallel runway.
The airport opened its new parallel runway in July 2020, and simultaneously implemented a slew of new flight paths that residents have since stated do not meet the expectations set in consultation with the community prior to the runway’s approval.
In September, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce set up a Post Implementation Review Advisory Forum for Brisbane Airport’s new flight paths, which released its first quarterly report in January.
As a result, Brisbane Airport Corporation and Airservices have together agreed to begin a new trial to send more flights over Moreton Bay, reducing the number flying over inner-city homes.
“Yes, we were pleased to see the government follow Labor’s lead last September by establishing an independent airport forum for Brisbane residents,” King said.
“But why isn’t it permanent like the similar model in Sydney?”
According to King, should the Labor party win the upcoming federal election, it will “take the next step” to make the independent forum investigating aircraft noise in Brisbane “permanent and independent”.
“Through this body, Labor will be keen to explore other ideas to better manage aircraft noise for Brisbane residents,” she said.
The shadow transport minister also said Labor will “ensure Airservices actually measures the noise that locals have to put up with, whether from the new runway or the legacy runway”.
In the piece, King also pledged to commission a new white paper “to take a detailed and coordinated look at our national aviation policy framework”.
“It will address aircraft noise and airport planning, but also the future of general and training aviation and help set the sector up for a new era of competition and prosperity,” King said.
“In the absence of leadership from the current government, an Albanese Labor government will step up to work with the local community, enable their voices to be heard and chart a better future for Australian aviation,” she concluded.