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Community feedback open for Brisbane Airport noise plans

written by Jake Nelson | August 1, 2023

Airservices Australia will host community consultation sessions on its Noise Action Plan for Brisbane Airport this month.

The proposed options include allowing aircraft to both arrive and depart over Moreton Bay as a priority when conditions allow, and implementing noise-sharing alternatives to ease the nighttime impacts on communities to the north and north-east of the airport.

Airservices will hold 14 drop-in sessions around the city, as well as two online sessions, with community feedback open until 10 September.

“Airservices wants to ensure it is a transparent process, which demonstrates the organisation’s commitment to improving noise outcomes for the Brisbane community, where safe and operationally feasible,” said Airservices Australia chief executive officer Jason Harfield.


“We look forward to hearing the community’s feedback on these latest flightpath options for Brisbane.”

Stephen Beckett, Brisbane Airport Corporation head of public affairs, said the consultation process is an important step towards the new noise plans.

“Brisbane Airport Corporation welcomes progress to increase the percentage of flights over the waters of Moreton Bay, reduce the impact of night-time operations and make Simultaneous Opposite Direction Runway Operations (SODPROPS) the priority mode, instead of only night-time use,” he said.

“We encourage residents to have their say through the Airservices Australia community feedback process.”

Noise issues have been a flashpoint at Brisbane Airport since the completion of its new parallel runway in July 2020, which allowed more flight paths to open up, but affected nearby communities in the process.

There were various calls – including from the Greens – for caps and curfews, though owners Brisbane Airport Corporation pointed to a potential $1 billion annual cost to the city’s economy. Others, including BAC, supported more flights being routed over Moreton Bay.

Community group Brisbane Flight Path Community Alliance (BFPCA), which in June marched on Brisbane Airport demanding caps and curfews, has dismissed the proposals as “shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic”.

Professor Marcus Foth, chair of the BFPCA, said increased use of SODPROPS would require CASA to relax safety standards, and called on the federal government to step in.

“Airservices Australia’s approach to aircraft noise in Brisbane is a perfect example of ‘don’t ask permission, ask for forgiveness’ where they launched this disastrous airspace design in 2020 and are now coming back seeking forgiveness through rats and mice changes on the edges,” he said.

“They rammed through awful designs and now have Brisbane communities scrambling to make sense of new proposals that are highly technical and, from BFPCA’s assessment, will make very minimal difference to people already impacted but also spread the problem further to other communities – we don’t want noise sharing as the first ‘go-to’ solution.

“Regular, everyday plane passengers should not be put at risk to help Airservices fix the mess they have forced on the people of Brisbane. And given CASA will, rightly so, reject these proposed changes on safety grounds, Airservices Australia are simply proposing changes they know they will never have to implement. It’s a game of bad cop and good cop.”

The federal government in March established a permanent Brisbane Airport Community Airspace Advisory Board to address the issue; it will be chaired by inaugural Australian Aircraft Noise Ombudsman Ron Brent, and will comprise five community representatives serving two-year terms.

According to Transport Minister Catherine King, the board will be supported by industry advisors, including airlines, Brisbane Airport, and Airservices Australia, as well as the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts.

“Establishing this forum for the community to have a voice about the impact of aircraft noise delivers on our election commitment and is part of the positive change people voted for,” said Ms King.

“It is only sensible and fair to give the people of Brisbane the opportunity to be heard and contribute to the management of aircraft noise.”

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