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The Hon. Anthony Albanese MP
Minister,
Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development & Local Government,
GPO Box 594,

CANBERRA, ACT 2601

M. A. R. A. Inc.

(Moorabbin Airport Residents Association Inc.)

SUBMISSION from MARA AS A RESPONSE TO THE AVIATION GREEN PAPER

 1.     We re-submit our information of the 26th June, 2008. (see .pdf file, Attachment 1)  It seems that residents of Kingston Council area surrounding Moorabbin Airport have been ignored in the Green Paper of December 2009.  As well, we add the following submission.

 2.     Our concerns are –

·         Noise

·         Safety

·         Loss of Amenity

·         Non-observance of Local Planning Schemes

·         Green Wedge provision

 3.     The Green Paper written by the Federal Aviation authors speaks only as a plan for the Aviation Industry and its expansion.  They are not the only stakeholders. The Paper ignores Communities who reside or work or go to school in the areas where the airports are located.  Moorabbin Airport is in the middle of several suburbs, and their communities’ long-term future living conditions and safety have been totally ignored or not considered worthy of any mention.

The Paper repeats many times how Govt. will ‘consult’ with Communities, Local Govt. and the State Govt.  Our experience over eleven years when dealing with the Moorabbin Airport Corporation Consultative Committee and Federal Aviation Authorities  is that ‘consultation’ means – ‘this is how it will be, this is our decision.’  There is NO consultation, NO action, NO changes we suggest.

4.     In all this ‘speak’ of consultation, there is not a sentence about how it will be achieved.  Our ‘consultation’ over 11 years has seen the following –

·      Loss of the Moorabbin 18-hole Golf Course.

·      Unwise Planning – attached is a copy of correspondence from the Victorian Minister for Planning, Mr. Justin Madden – MLC. [Attachment 2].  The Minister’s view is negative and disapproving of Goodman-MAC’s plans, Federal Govt. support of the Developer, and supportive of Kingston Community and State Planning Regulations.

·       Loss of open space due to the above, and the development of commercial buildings and roads.

·      Aircraft movements approaching 400,000 per annum.  MAC advise that 34,300 movements in May 2008, exceeded forecasts.

·        Aircraft collision on airport land with a death.

·         Aircraft collisions and crashes into residential and near-residential areas and an aircraft crash on private golf course land.

5.     Moorabbin Airport is referred to frequently as the busiest (movements) Airport in Australia.  Strangely, this does not warrant comment or consideration in the Green Paper in relation to how noise suppression is to be instituted.  It is reasonable to assume that the busiest airport is also the noisiest, but this does not warrant any consideration by Govt. or Industry.

6.     This Green Paper process is  not  consultative, but a prescription for more of what has been forced on communities for many years.  If the Govt. was seriously concerned with living standards, they could have implemented much of what is contained in Section 10 – ‘Noise Impacts’.  Little of what is contained is new and has been put forward by concerned groups over a long period of time.

7.     We believe that Govt. will need to change the operating style and attitudes of Management at “Air Services Australia”, “CASA”, and other prescriptive authorities who don’t know what consultation means.

8.     MARA’s President has had an experience with a CASA employee at a Moorabbin Airport Consultative Committee Meeting, who told him, “if you don’t like the noise, move to another location.”  This attitude was supported by his Supervisor, Shane Carmody.

9.     MARA recently had am email from a resident who was rudely treated and told the same thing as in para. 8, by representatives of both MAC and  the Federal Govt. Agency. 

      Quote…I called the airport on one occasion and a woman answered.  She basically said I should have known not to live in Parkdale if I don’t like the sound of aeroplanes.  I failed to make any connection with planes and Parkdale and I told her she was extremely rude. I obtained the phone number of the control tower and have phoned on odd occasions wondering when this spate of planes will end – he basically was extremely rude and suggested I call the EPA.

Is this consultative or dictatorial? 

10. Govt. knows that the noise ill-effects imposed on adjoining residents can be reduced by outlawing the large number of old-fashioned aircraft operating to old-fashioned standards adopted from outside Australia.  Why not Australian Standards, based on some local and community consultation.  Many aircraft should and could have reduced exhaust noise.

11. In response to widespread safety concerns in the adjacent communities, we believe that the Govt. should set reduced movement levels at Moorabbin, which would reduce accident potential and reduce noise impacts. Here is an opportunity for consultation!

12. Another positive move would be to incorporate and increase the use of a flight simulator in learning, training and license reviews.  We see this as reducing noise and increasing safety.

13. Relegating learners to country areas where populations are significantly less,  would seem sensible.  This was precisely what the Premier of Victoria, Mr. John Brumby said at the time of the aircraft crash into a suburban house in Cheltenham in August, 2008.  It is a miracle only the pilot died and not any resident in the house the plane crashed into, or at the school just across the road, a few metres away. Mr. Brumby made this statement several times and it was duly reported in the newspapers and on television.

14. We have corresponded with the now-Minister Anthony Albanese MP since October 1999 on the appointment of an Aviation Noise Ombudsman.  Our correspondence was in support of HIS proposal for the establishment of this Office.  At that time, it appeared that the Minister had a real concern for Aircraft noise and its effects on taxpayers.  We are somewhat surprised that this idea, once so enthusiastically endorsed, now is never mentioned by him or his Dept. since his party won Government. 

15. Further, the Ombudsman proposal was again presented by Mr. Georganas, MP in March, 2006.  Senator Kerry O’Brien presented a paper in September, 2006 also suggesting the establishment of an Ombudsman.  The present Minister Albanese used in his election campaign suggestions that he was supportive of the Ombudsman idea. Since then, history has demonstrated his lack, or diminishing concern regarding the idea, with no appointment made.

16. We see this situation as regrettable, as the appointment of an Ombudsman would have community benefits, providing the Govt. allowed the position to operate with independence, authority and supported by a sound regulatory framework.

17. We feel it is crucial that Goodman-MAC meet normal financial commitment to the rate-paying community, of which they are a part, and pay Kingston Rates and State Govt. levies and taxes.

18. We hear (with disbelief) that Goodman-MAC, as a result of the Moorabbin Public Golf Course lease expiring, are seeking costs related to the re-instatement of Golf Course land to its original state be paid for by the Kingston Council Ratepayers!  This includes the demolishing of buildings and pavements.    We see this requirement by Goodman-MAC to be an exhibition of CORPORATE  GREED of the worst kind, as well as contempt and indifference for the people of Kingston.

19. Goodman-MAC, in their development of the Golf Course land will recoup many millions of dollars, in addition to the millions (likely $50,000,000 +) already acquired in land value Capital Gain.  Demolition costs would be miniscule when included in building development costs.

20. We consider that this Group, like any other Development Group, should be paying Rates, Development Levies and Taxes.  The rest of those residing here do so, and Goodman-MAC should do so.

21. Our recommendations are –

·         Stop Formation Flying Groups departing from Moorabbin Airport.

·         Stop Airshow type activities – ie. Battle of Britain Annual Memorial.  40-plus aircraft depart Moorabbin Airport noisily at 5am and return  the same morning to watch a performance of stunts and dangerous maneuvers at the Airport in the midst of residential areas. On 25th February, 2009 an experienced stunt flyer died in a plane crash at Shepparton while preparing a routine of stunt flying for the upcoming Australian International Airshow at Avalon.  Imagine this happening at Moorabbin!

·         Stop sightseeing flights over built-up residential areas by fixed-wing aircraft or helicopters.

·         Stop twin-engine aircraft practicing one-engine landings.

·         Stop potential expansion of Moorabbin regular passenger transport (RPT).

·         Refuse MAC the authority to introduce large 50-100 seat passenger jets.  We live in fear of such an occurrence.

·         Federal Govt. to PROMPTLY legislate to require Goodman-MAC and all other lease-holders to pay State and Local rates, levies and taxes, conform to State and Local Planning Regulations, and be accountable for their actions to ALL levels of Govt. - just like anyone else conducting the business of commercial land development.  

22. Much is made of the financial contribution the Aviation Industry makes to the Australian economy, but nothing is said about the adverse costs.  We hear that the flight training industry depends largely on overseas trainees.  We think the Green Paper should research the cost associated with Australian training, investigating the idea of re-locating it to India where most students come from. 

23. Do the gains warrant the imported pollution and high cost of imported planes, spares and other capital costs.  Our opinion is that it is favourable economics to relocate the training overseas.  

24. The Green Paper has a strong bias towards continuing growth in a noxious industry, which at Moorabbin Airport impinges negatively on living conditions, health and safety.

25. We request some face-to-face,  REAL consultation with Govt. decision-makers.  Clearly, as it is now, no one understands, cares, or takes our concerns seriously.

26. We attach a copy of a newspaper report from the Chelsea, Mordialloc, Mentone INDEPENDENT NEWS, February 24th, 2009 [Attachment 3].  This quotes MAC General Manager Phil McConnell commenting on the content of the forthcoming Master Plan.  Mr. McConnell says he sympathizes with the Community for what his Company proposes for our residential environment in the future…and then blames the Federal Govt. for the outcomes. 

27. Since this indifferent and unconcerned Company refuses to take responsibility for their effect on the surrounding community and lays all outcomes at the Federal Govt.’s feet, then it is time for Govt. to step in.  If Mr. McConnell is correct, then cleaning up after these Corporate Renegades can only be managed by sensible and socially responsible legislation.  We, the community, hope you understand this and will act accordingly.

 28. Phil McConnell informs us in this newspaper article that the average age of pilots taking off and landing is 18 years old.  The average age of instructors is 22 years old, and a pilot’s license can be obtained at the age of 16 years old.  This is disturbing news for residents and others working and studying on the ground.  With the EXTREME youth of these flyers, and their consequent INEXPERIENCE, safety must be compromised, especially with 16 year-old licensed pilots.  You cannot even get a Learners Permit on the road at that age.  It is possible there are 15 year olds up there training over residential areas.  No one has mentioned the minimum age for flying!  The Federal Govt. is remiss in not addressing such safety issues for those on the ground and legislating for a safe environment.

 29. Airports vary from site to site.  Moorabbin should be viewed separately in respect of its influences.  The specific Master Plan deals with what Goodman-MAC wishes to achieve.  We expect the Green Paper to take care of PEOPLE  and, COMMUNITIES who live side-by-side with the Airport.  They are the largely forgotten element in this process.  If our Government does not take our needs into consideration – who will?

  
Tom Uren – President - MARA

Anna Emanuel – Secretary – MARA






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