Moorabbin Crash Zone
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Who Pays?

There is an urgent need for transparency of societal and financial costs & impacts of the Moorabbin airport. A proper cost allocation & cost recovery analysis would indicate that the local community and the federal government are significantly subsidising the Moorabbin Airport Corporation and general aviation at great financial and environmental expense to the community. The amenity and wealth of a whole community is being funnelled into private enterprise which is engaged in environmentally unsustainable commerce. 

When the government finds that the societal risk associated with activity at the Moorabbin airport is intolerable (as it has), the community pays twice.  When extra air traffic controllers are suddenly deployed at the Moorabbin control tower to reduce the chances of fatal accidents, the community pays again.  When residents and other businesses lose rights over their property because of an expanding airport noise exposure forecast (caused by increased aircraft movements), the community pays!  When residents become stressed or sick or move to escape the unreasonable environmental impact of the airport, the community pays.


T
he Safety of Our Children & Our Amenity?


Is it possible to value our amenity and the safety of our children in the city of Kingston?

Apparently Yes!

The going rate is about $60 per head.  That's roughly the amount that the Federal Government charged the Moorabbin Airport Corporation (MAC) for it's lease on the aerodrome.


Here’s how MAC on-sells our City:


MAC_Website_screenshot_Dec08

So ironically and quite unashamedly MAC trades the following to the whole world of aviation:
  • The liveability of the City of Kingston
  • The amenity and standard of living of the City of Kingston and,
  • The safety of the residents and children of City of Kingston

But wait, MAC has concluded that there is too much competition in aviation so it sells all of the above at a price which it says does not even remotely cover costs.  

In other words the residents of the city of Kingston suffer while aviation at Moorabbin airport is not even remotely viable.  

So of course MAC has to find other ways to produce income and it does this by systematically chopping up bits of the aerodrome and turning it into commercial developments, which it then sub-leases.  Then it has the audacity to suggest it is creating jobs rather than the truth which is that  it is simply a property developer taking advantage of cheap land.

The latest parcel of land to be targeted at the airport site was the community golf course which of course caused further loss of amenity and even more loss of the standard of living for the residents of Kingston.

Furthermore, the commercial developments are slowly encroaching on the runways with obvious implications for safety - case in point the serious plane crash at Essendon which has much less aircraft activity than Moorabbin.

The Moorabbin Airport Corporation Showed Its Hand*

The objectives of the Moorabbin Airport Corporation {MAC} were made very clear in their Jan 2007 submission to government on the Airports Amendment Bill 2006:

 1)     MAC frequently complains about aviation not being viable and seeks instead to make a lot of money out of property development at the site.  This is a very shrewd strategy given that MAC acquired their very cheap lease on the huge parcel of land because it was a small airport not a lucrative development site.

“Without certainty of continuing aviation and non-aviation development of airport sites small general aviation sites such as Moorabbin cannot survive.”

 2)     MAC is attempting to “brickwall” its interests in the site by packing in as many planes as possible.  The more planes and the more commercial aviation the more secure its hold on the site which it means it can then concentrate on picking away at the lucrative development opportunities.

 “Without the ability to develop the site as a whole there would never be any future for aviation on the site without some form of subsidy”

 “In order for MAC to continue to invest in both major aviation and non-aviation development, we need planning certainty”

 3)     MAC wants to get as far away as possible from being accountable for anything to do with aviation including the way aircraft use the sky after they leave the runways.

 “We are concerned by the inclusion of a new requirement for the airport to explain to the public “Civil Flight Paths” . . .” 

 “We have a very highly travelled coastal track which has nothing to do with Moorabbin Airport but which gives rise to numerous calls”

  4)     MAC does not want responsibility for any issues to do with noise, safety or any other public amenity concerns.

 “We would prefer that ANEF’s [noise] are not an airport responsibility . .”

 “The vast majority of our noise complaints come from communities and individuals several km away from the ANEF [noise] coverage area.”

Surely There is a Good Reason For The Airport?

The majority of flights from Moorabbin Airport are recreational and or for sightseeing or training.

It is essentially an exclusive club and in many respects is no different from local boating clubs. Perhaps the only  difference is that it is more expensive to moor a boat or launch from a Council ramp than it is to park your half million dollar plane at Moorabbin aerodrome and land and take off.   Also there are
more restrictions on noisy fast boats.  There are strict laws specifically designed to protect the amenity and safety of the public.  You stand a much greater chance of being fined for breaking boating regulations than you do for flying dangerously in your noisy plane or helicopter.

What About Other Economic Considerations?

It seems logical to assume that Moorabbin Airport plays a part in a lucrative aviation industry and it does.  However, unlike many other industries aviation is mobile.  An obvious example of this mobility is the movement of some maintenance operations for Australian commercial airlines to overseas countries.  

So unlike the local shipwright and the outboard motor shop who would go out of business if nearby boat ramps were suddenly closed, it is more than reasonable to expect that excessive aircraft activity and the more dangerous and noisy training programs be dealt with by moving them to less densly populated non-urban locations away from the City of Kingston.

The Federal Government commissioned a report into the Aviation Capacity of the Port Phillip Region after it privatised Moorabbin Airport. This report stated that closing an airport has no net impact on the industry because the activity ends up being replicated elsewhere. Of course a key consideration is that the replication does not happen over another densely populated municipality. (Capacity of Aviation Facilities in The Port Phillip Region, Ambidji Group Pty Ltd, 2000, p.14)


Nothing Short of Dangerous & Unconscionable

Here is an Air Services Australia chart which is supposed to show every plane movement in Melbourne.  It is for one sunny Sunday afternoon (Feb 15, 2009). 

Look at the ridiculous and dangerous congestion of planes around the Moorabbin airport area compared to what's going on over the rest of Melbourne.  How could this not be another fatal accident waiting to happen?

What is even more disturbing about this chart is that there was a helicopter spotted in the Moorabbin airport airspace at the same time but it doesn't show on the chart.  The helicopter was flying well below the height required by Civil Aviation Regulations. It was joy riding along the busy breach.  The reason it can't be seen here is because it obviously had its transponder turned off.  (By the time this chart was produced it appears word had gotten around about City of Kingston residents making their own records of plane and helicopter movements and some pilots had obviously made a conscious decision to "hide" from the charts.

congestion at moorabbin airport

The grey circles are aircraft noise monitoring devices. You are right, there are none in the City of Kingston.