THE Australian Government last week announced it has approved Melbourne Airport's 2013 Master Plan, which sets out the 20-year strategic vision for the airport, including future land uses, types of permitted development and noise and environment impacts.
Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the Master Plan proposes significant infrastructure developments at Melbourne Airport to accommodate expected growth in passenger and aircraft movements, including airfield facility upgrades, new aircraft movement areas and improved road and transport networks.
"Melbourne Airport is a vital gateway for Victoria and Australia, playing a major role in Victoria's economy," Mr Truss said, adding that the airport currently supports 14,300 direct jobs and some 43,000 jobs indirectly, while contributing $1.47 billion a year to Victoria's Gross State Product (GSP).
"Continued development of the airport is expected to see employment surge to 23,000 direct jobs and over 72,000 indirect jobs, while the airport's contribution to Victoria's GSP is anticipated to more than double to approximately $3.21 billion a year by 2033," Mr Truss said.
The Master Plan includes details of the proposed third runway for Melbourne Airport as well as a new single-direction elevated loop road. It also contains a number of options to improve ground transport infrastructure, including provision for the development of a future airport rail link and the identification of opportunities to prioritise and provide additional bus services to the airport and improve links from metropolitan and regional rail services to the airport.
Mr Truss stressed that the approval of the Master Plan is not an approval of a third runway. He said a decision on the third runway will only be made after Melbourne Airport undertakes a detailed planning, design and regulatory approval process, which includes community consultation and examination of environmental impacts including from aircraft noise.
"The aviation sector plays a critical role in building a strong national economy. Melbourne Airport's 2013 Master Plan outlines infrastructure investments that will result in substantial benefits to the local, regional, state and national economies."
Melbourne Airport CEO, Chris Woodruff, welcomed the approval of the Master Plan, which he described as a significant document for the airport's future that follows a two-year process, including consultation with a range of stakeholders.
"Airports are critical pieces of our national infrastructure, and our Master Plan sets out the vision for Melbourne Airport as a 24-hour gateway for the movement of people and goods to global destinations and markets," Mr Woodruff said.
"I'd like to thank everyone who contributed to the Master Plan and we look forward to working with the community, government and interested parties as we implement our vision and as we strive to become Australia's premier international aviation gateway."