Development plans approved for Melbourne and Perth airports

FEDERAL Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Anthony Albanese, this week announced the approval of draft Major Development Plans for Melbourne and Perth airports.

Melbourne Airport's draft Major Development Plan includes a new $26 million athlete's facility to be located on a 10-hectare site, including two ovals, a training and administration building and car parking.

The indoor facilities include a basketball court, pool and gymnasium and will be used by Essendon Football Club, paralympians and other local athletic groups.

Mr Albanese said the proposal is not expected to increase traffic in the area and will not have any significant impact on aviation operations at the airport. He added that no concerns were raised in submissions or by the public during the consultation period.

The Australian Government has committed $6 million to the project under the Infrastructure Employment Projects Scheme. Essendon Football Club is also seeking a matching commitment from the Victorian Government.

Perth Airport's draft Major Development Plan includes a significant expansion of its international terminal, allowing for upgrades to passenger processing, visitor services and ground transport.

The existing floor space in the international terminal will be expanded by 80 per cent and some domestic services will move to the international terminal.

Mr Albanese said all submissions received during the consultation period were supportive of the proposal.

Perth Airport Pty Ltd welcomed the approval of the plan, calling it "another important milestone for the company's plans to redevelop Perth Airport."

According to the company, the first phase of the $500 million terminal expansion will result in an expanded check-in area with an additional 16 counters and an expanded passport control and quarantine area for international passengers. To facilitate Virgin Australia's domestic operations, a new domestic pier and lounge area will be constructed.

The redevelopment will also include new retail outlets, a larger and improved duty free store and new aerobridges and aerobridge gates capable of facilitating wide-bodied domestic aircraft and A380 aircraft.

Perth Airport's Chief Executive Officer, Brad Geatches, said he was delighted by the Minister's announcement.

"We are extremely pleased that the Minister has endorsed our extensive plans for the International Terminal. Works will commence in early 2012 and by 2014 we will have both domestic and international services operating from what is currently the International Terminal," Mr Geatches said.

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