Urban Taskforce warns of planning chaos around airports

PROPERTY industry group Urban Taskforce last week said the draft National Airports Safeguarding Framework currently open to public comments is "a recipe for planning chaos" that could threaten 134,300 new dwellings valued at $33.5 billion.

The draft Framework, also released last week, is being developed to improve community amenity by minimising aircraft noise-sensitive developments near airports and improve safety outcomes by ensuring aviation requirements are recognised in land use planning decisions.

It was developed by the National Airports Safeguarding Advisory Group (NASAG), which comprises of Commonwealth, State and Territory Government planning and transport officials, the Australian Government Department of Defence, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), Airservices Australia and the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA).
Urban Taskforce Chief Executive, Chris Johnson, said the Federal Government's "incursion into land planning around every airport in Australia is not based on evidence or detailed research, it is selectively applied to suit the operators of airports and with multiple controls can only lead to planning chaos."

Urban Taskforce commissioned four reports to examine the proposed system. Legal firm Gadens reviewed the legal issues, Wilkinson Murray examined the acoustic implications, CBRE assessed the planning and land use issues and MacroPlanDimasi investigated the economic impacts of the new system.

According to Mr Johnson, the report by MacroPlanDimasi revealed that 134,300 new dwellings with a total value of $33.5 billion could be threatened if the proposed system takes effect.

"All of these experts believe that no case has been made for a change to how noise impact is controlled around airports from the current ANEF system which has been operating in Australia for 35 years and in America for 50 years. The addition of N60, N65 and N70 noise contours can only confuse everybody and lead to contestible planning decisions that will end up in the courts," he said.

Mr Johnson said there is no explanation of the logic behind the proposed controls, no assessment of the billions of dollars of property investment that could be affected and no regulatory impact statement as required by COAG. He also said the proposed system contains a bias against greenfield housing over brownfield developments.

"Urban Taskforce Australia urges all councils that have airports in their boundaries to read the detailed expert reports we have commissioned before making submissions to the Federal Government. Along with the state governments, the councils must move fast as the public review ends on March 15 and there is very little time for affected parties to absorb the complex issues and send their comments to Canberra," Mr Johnson said.

"Even the Federal Government's supposed reason for changing how airport noise is measured is deeply flawed. The report states that it is because of increasing complaints outside the ANEF system that something new is needed. Urban Taskforce Australia researched the incidence of complaints outside the normal area at Sydney airport and found that 90% of complaints were made by three serial complainers with the largest number of complaints coming from distant Kellyville where a single person logged 1,663 complaints.

"To restructure planning rules across hundreds of square kilometres based on a few serial complainers that are not even near airports seems most bizarre," Mr Johnson said.

Urban Taskforce has called for the Draft National Airports Safeguarding Framework to be scrapped immediately and for the current ANEF system to be retained.

More information is available from the Urban Taskforce website at <>.

More information on the draft National Airports Safeguarding Framework is available from the Department of Infrastructure and Transport website at <>.

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