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New Greens bill to push for caps and curfews at Brisbane Airport

written by Jake Nelson | September 7, 2023

Vietjet’s Airbus A330-300, VN-A810, at Brisbane Airport. (Image: Vietjet)

The Greens will introduce a bill to implement caps and curfews at Brisbane Airport after continued resident complaints about flight noise.

The Brisbane Airport Curfew and Demand Management Bill 2023 would introduce an hourly cap on flights, while non-emergency flights would be subjected to a late-night curfew and more flights would be routed over the water rather than the city where possible.

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.

Elizabeth Watson-Brown, Federal MP for Ryan and Greens spokesperson for Infrastructure, Transport and Sustainable Cities, said the bill – which will be debated in October – follows “strong grassroots campaigns” across Brisbane, and that the airport is set to double its traffic by 2035.

According to Watson-Brown, she and her fellow Brisbane Greens MPs Max Chandler-Mather and Stephen Bates have had “thousands of conversations” with Brisbane residents on aircraft noise over the past two years.


“It’s time the government listens to the Brisbane community on flight noise. Their ask is simple: they want a curfew and cap on flights just like Sydney has,” she said.

“Anthony Albanese got into Parliament in 1996 having campaigned strongly for Sydney’s cap and curfew – but now that he’s Prime Minister, he is backing private airport profits over the needs of our community.

“We’re calling on every Liberal and Labor politician whose job it is to represent the people of Brisbane to join us in supporting this bill – so Brisbane can get a good night’s sleep.”

Brisbane Airport has come out swinging against the bill, saying it would turn Brisbane into “Australia’s aviation bottleneck” by the end of the decade.

The airport said the bill would limit arrivals and departures to 45 per hour, while a curfew would “eliminate a huge swathe of international services and thousands of seats per week”.

Figures released by the airport claim caps and curfews would severely hamper regional travel as well, reducing flights by 3,100 and passenger movements by 239,000 in FY26 and 32,500 flights and 2.9 million passengers by FY42.

Stephen Beckett, Head of Public Affairs at Brisbane Airport, said it “beggars belief” that such a bill would be introduced during a national debate on affordable air travel.

“International airfares are currently up to 50 per cent more expensive than before COVID. Australians now understand that extra capacity forces prices down. Wiping out services from Qatar Airways, Emirates, Cathay Pacific, Singapore, Qantas and Virgin which currently depart after 10pm would hit Queenslanders hard,” he said.

“Caps and a curfew would have a brutal impact on Queensland’s economy, slashing 30,000 jobs across the state by 2032 and wiping $2.8 billion from the economy.

“It will become more difficult for Queenslanders living in the regions to visit family and friends, travel for holidays, business, or for specialist medical care. Caps and a curfew would mean 3,100 fewer regional flights in Queensland each year which would be a devastating blow to people across the state.”

The federal government in March established the Brisbane Airport Community Airspace Advisory Board to hear community concerns on noise issues.

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