Jan 29, 2008

Ground control: voice for airport communities

Ground control: voice for airport communities

Jano Gibson, Urban Affairs Reporter – The Sydney Morning Herald

Tuesday 29/1/2008

A community forum is to be re-established giving a voice to residents who will be affected by noise during planned runway upgrades at Sydney Airport.

The federal Minister for Transport,Anthony Albanese, had severely criticised Sydney Airport Corporation for its lack of public consultation over the year-long project to increase the runway’s safety area to 90 metres. Up to three extra aircraft an hour will fly over homes to the north and south of the airport from April.

Mr Albanese said the Sydney Airport Community Forum would allow community representatives to meet Sydney Airport Corporation and government aviation bodies regularly.

Sydney Airport Corporation had a responsibility to be a "good neighbour" by advising nearby residents of issues that affected their quality of life, said Mr Albanese, whose Grayndler electorate is under the flight path.

Plans for the runway upgrade were revealed three days after the November federal election, sparking suspicions that the announcement was timed to avoid any electoral fall-out for the Coalition.

Work will force the east-west runway, which handles about 17 per cent of the airport’s 200,000 annual take-offs and landings, to be closed or restricted for more than a year. Aircraft will use the two north-south runways.

The forum will include representatives of the community, councils, the airline industry, Airservices Australia, state and federal parliaments and Sydney Airport Corporation.

The first meeting will be held on February 15.