Launch of the Brisbane Airport Experience Centre
The Hon Anthony Albanese MP
The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,
Regional Development and Local Government
Leader of the House
Member for Grayndler
15 July 2010
I am pleased to be here to launch the first permanent airport experience centre in Australia.
A lot has changed for Brisbane’s aviation industry and its airports since Charles Kingsford Smith landed at Eagle Farm in 1928, completing the first trans-Pacific flight. During the Second World War, Brisbane became the Allies’ headquarters for the South-West Pacific campaign and, as General Macarthur oversaw military operations, Eagle Farm received such upgrades it became the main civilian airport. But that was during the Second World War.
Since then Brisbane has grown quickly and in the 1980’s a new airport was constructed-this award-winning place we find ourselves today. It’s a fitting place to launch Australia’s first airport Experience Centre-Brisbane Airport enjoys an international reputation for excellence and was recognised in March this year as being in the top 20 airports around the world.
The Experience Centre incorporates information displays on the airport’s operations, historic multimedia presentations and interactive maps.
Importantly, it also houses a unique Australian-designed software program assisting the community to understand the current and future operations of Brisbane Airport and how these will impact on aircraft noise patterns across Brisbane.
The Experience Centre will include displays on aviation safety, security, border protection, environmental management, and the future growth of the aviation industry. The Experience Centre will inform people about flight paths. Important tools such as Airservices Australia’s Webtrak will be available. Other tools like Brisbane Airport’s flight path and noise video will explain current and forecasted flight paths passing over specific properties and suburbs. Working to inform the community is a critical role for airport operators and Brisbane Airport has done well with this initiative.
In December 2009, I released the Government’s National Aviation Policy White Paper, which provides a long-term, forward-thinking policy for the aviation industry in Australia. It is the first long term aviation strategy in Australia’s history.
A key principle of the White Paper is to encourage continued investment in aviation infrastructure to meet the needs of a growing economy. This is especially the case in Brisbane, where the airport is forecast to handle over 45 million annual passengers by 2029.
The White Paper also recognises that expansion of airport operations can have a major impact on the community. Issues such as aircraft noise, traffic congestion and pressure on public transport all require cooperative management between airport operators, all levels of government, and local communities.
In approving Brisbane Airport’s 2009 Master Plan I placed significant importance on the community engagement undertaken by the airport. As part of the Master Plan process, the airport agreed to develop an integrated and comprehensive strategy for community engagement on its operations. I am pleased that the airport’s CEO Julieanne Alroe is taking personal carriage of this work.
Community and Stakeholder Engagement
This Centre is one important element of the community engagement strategy. It will be underpinned by important consultation groups. I understand there are four of them for Brisbane Airport.
A community aviation consultation group, comprising community, industry and government representatives, which is independently chaired by Major General Peter Arnison, former Governor of Queensland. Complementing that group, there is a quarterly forum for the local community to meet and discuss issues with airport management. Importantly, there is a technical working group of industry experts to advise the airport and community representatives about aircraft noise;
And to ensure land use on the airport is better coordinated with local and State Government planning, there is a Planning Coordination Forum with key representatives from the airport, Brisbane City Council and the Queensland and Commonwealth Governments.
Minimising the impact of aircraft noise is a joint responsibility of airports and local planning authorities. It is essential for long term planning in our major cities that developments do not proceed where they will lead to public safety risks or unacceptable levels of aircraft noise.
That is why my department is engaging with all states and territories to develop a set of principles for safeguarding airports from inappropriate developments in surrounding areas. This initiative recognises that new airport sites are very difficult to find and we must protect our existing airports allowing for growth in operations to cater for future demand.
I congratulate Julieanne and her team for the commitment they have shown to investing in infrastructure, engaging with the community and planning for sustainable growth. The experience centre, along with the other initiatives I have mentioned, will ensure that the Brisbane community is genuinely informed, consulted and able to influence future operations and development at the airport.