PORT of BRISBANE PLANNING
Problems and Remedies
13 February 1998
Prepared for The Rivermouth Action Group Inc
by Les Greenhill
A table of Contents
- Massive Development Problems
- Flight Paths
- Privatisation of Airport
- Moreton Bay Commission
- What you can do to help
Massive Development Problems
The recent release of planning documents related to the BRISBANE GATEWAY AREA STRATEGIC PLAN show that the Bayside suburbs of Wynnum North, Wynnum, Wynnum Central, Manly and Lota are in the southern flight path of the cross runway of Brisbane Airport. The corporation has on the planning board a proposal to build a parallel runway and extend the cross runway and ultimately build a second cross runway out in Moreton Bay north of the mouth of the Brisbane River.
In part, the Draft Land Use and Environment Working Paper states the attraction in using Brisbane Airport as a major disembarkment terminus is that the airport has no curfew on its operations. A no-curfew regulation creates many opportunities for increased air traffic. Increased air traffic equates with added aircraft noise and pollution.
- Up and down the East Coast, international and domestic passenger traffic will be rescheduled to take advantage of the existing no-curfew situation;
- Brisbane will be the focus of already massive East Coast air freight transport.
Restated in environmental terms, the exponential growth of airport traffic will create massive increases of noise and air pollution.
Aircraft contribute approximately 20% of all air pollution in our city. This pollution is hazardous, because the aircraft emissions are significantly unburned fuel. Remember also, that only 2% of the population regularly use aircraft.
Because much of the increased air traffic will happen at night when the prevailing winds are lightest, much of this pollution will settle in the Brisbane to concentrate in the River valley resulting in increased air pollution.
Future Noise pollution will become a major environmental issue for the Bayside Suburbs.
Besides a general increase of air traffic, there are plans to lengthen the Cross Runway, which will result in more large aircraft using this cross flight path, which channels the aircraft over the southern Bayside Suburbs.
The CAA argues that it distributes the problem by randomly applying flight paths. Remember that the major determinants of flight paths are wind direction and saving fuel costs.
- Demand that your elected representative fight for your rights in this matter.
Privatisation of the Airport
Privatisation of Airports throughout Australia has gained general support from a large section of the community. But the questions are, "Does privatisation actually benefit the community? Have we been dudded?"
Obtaining information about our airports is like dealing with a secret society. Precise details of the lease agreement between the Commonwealth Government and the Brisbane Airport Corporation still remain secret. Generally, information about the operation of the airports is shrouded from the general public. The CAA planning is not subjected to the same accountability and therefore the same scrutiny as applies to government departments. One prime example of this situation is "Commonwealth land is exempt from the requirements of the Contaminated Land Act."
It seems inconceivable that contaminated airport land is polluting adjacent properties and the airport officials remain silent.
Coincidently, the consortium to control of the airport has representation from the Brisbane City Council (2%), the Port of Brisbane Corporation (37%), the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (37%). Another question arises, "Are these representatives hiding behind the existing commonwealth exemptions and therefore avoid responsibility to state and local government regulations?"
Such action would be totally unethical and in certain instances, unlawful.
It has been rumoured that The Brisbane Airport Corporation Ltd will be insulated from local regulations for up to sixty years. A provision of this nature is madness and a formula for disaster.
At a November 1997 public meeting, the Deputy Mayor, Cannon Hill Councillor, John Campbell, said the airport land was exempted from town planning regulations until the next town plan is gazetted.
This madness would be multiplied if the unconstitutional proposal for a free trade area became a reality. Imagine, as has been mooted, tourists flying to Brisbane Airport, then transferring to hotels on the airport site and enjoying tourist activities without spending a cent in Australia. If by chance, they do decide to spend, that spending will be duty free.
Meanwhile, Brisbane citizens will be expected to pay taxes and property rates to support an infrastructure of roads and other services for a private consortium.
What citizens can do?
- Ask your local elected representative to intervene:
- Complain to your local organisations;
- Petition the three levels of government
Port of Brisbane
Recent news has featured the conflict between the states about a 'quick transit' (fast) rail line, linking Darwin with southern states. South Australia wants to bypass the eastern state capitals by having the line direct from Darwin to Adelaide, then freight produces around the eastern coast as far as Cairns.
This visionary plan is matched by a proposal to bring the line down the west of the Great Dividing Range with branch lines breaking off to link to the major cities on the coastline.
Either plan is a death knell for the massive expansion proposed for the Port of Brisbane (POB).
There is a high degree of viability in the proposal to make Darwin the major Container Terminal in Australia.
The salient reasons are geographic and, therefore, economic.
- Darwin is the closest point to South East Asia and is also very suitable for trading in the untapped trade areas of the Indian Ocean;
- Protection for the Great Barrier Reef by diverting traffic to the north east of Australia;
- It has a viable port, although some difficulties exist through the high range of tidal rise and fall;
- Existing resources from the central heart and the booming north-east of Australia will take a shorter route to their destinations.
Coupled with the above mentioned advantages, the prospect of developing the resource-rich north western regions of Australia would be accelerated.
POB has many disadvantages:
- It is situated on a narrow restricted river mouth, which requires expensive ongoing dredging to be viable;
- It impacts on a unique environment. Moreton Bay is already under serious environmental pressure;
- Coastline seaborn traffic poses a pollution threat to the Great Barrier Reef.
Along with the development of the Brisbane Airport, the most significant factor about the Port is its intrusion on a major city - modern overseas planners have the foresight to put airports and seaports outside major metropolitan regions.
Moreton Bay Commission
The recent approved Land Use Plan for the POB emphasises the need for a politically independent agency to manage Moreton Bay.
This blatant land grab by a government-owned Corporation which is the recipient of special treatment already, highlights the depths to which our governments will stoop to avoid scrutiny of financial and other so-called sensitive matters.
Planning in secret and failing to state the intentions of the planning authorities has become the norm. Bureaucrats who earnestly endeavour to involve the community in consultative processes are frustrated by ambitious colleagues who see their future as controlled by their Minister. Administrative independence and genuine accountability are myths hidden in text books to be trotted out to dazzle a gullible media corps and inept politicians. The question must be asked. 'Which is better, an open audit by a Parliament's Officer - the Auditor General - or a paid auditor, who conducts an audit which is kept secret by a Corporate Board?' In the second situation, Democracy and therefore the community suffers.
The authorities perpetrating this short-term madness fail to understand the problems or they simply ignore the implications of their actions.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP
Drop your local representative a friendly letter, telling her/him that the present proposals to expand the port are unsatisfactory.
Have a conversation on the phone with your member.
Make her/him listen to your concerns.
Exert your democratic right to have a say in this important matter.
Recruit your friends to become active in the fray.
An Assessment of Environmental Impacts and Risk Factors.
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