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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment

Sydney Airport Long Term Operating Plan

24 July 1997

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has concluded the environmental impact assessment of the Long Term Operating Plan for Sydney Airport.

"I have accepted the advice of my department, Environment Australia, and decided that the preparation of an environmental impact statement is not necessary to achieve the object of the Environment Protection (Impact of Proposals) Act 1974.

"Careful consideration has been given to the relevant environmental issues and to the assessment processes already conducted in relation to the Long Term Operating Plan.

"The extensive community consultation process that has occurred has also been taken into account."

Senator Hill has made several recommendations to the Federal Minister for Transport and Regional Development, John Sharp, in relation to the Long Term Operating Plan.

"These recommendations are designed to enhance future community consultation processes, improve noise monitoring and reporting mechanisms and ensure the provision of adequate noise insulation to households."

A copy of the recommendations is attached.

24 July 1997

Contact: Julie Marks (Senator Hill's office) 06 277 7640


Minister for the Environment, Senator Robert Hill

It is recommended that:

  1. the membership of the Sydney Airport Community Forum be revised to provide for a wider representation of community interests, in particular of those areas that will be affected by the changes to flight paths made as a result of the Long-term Operating Plan. This would confirm the Forum's role of reporting to the community and providing advice to the Government on views put forward by the community on the implementation and monitoring of the Long-term Operating Plan and other developments at Sydney airport. A proposal to this effect should be developed by the Department of Transport and Regional Development. in cosultation with Environment Australia;

  2. the Implementation and Monitoring Committee proposed at Recommendation 9 of the Proponent's Statement should be restricted to coordination of the implementation and monitoring of the Long-term Operating Plan at a technical level. There should be overlap in membership and agenda between this Committee and the Sydney Airport Community Forum;

  3. the responsiveness of the Noise Enquiry Unit should be maintained and enhanced through appropriate staffing and equipment and access to the best available noise monitoring methodology;

  4. permanent noise monitors should be added to the present noise and flight path monitoring system where appropriate to allow monitoring of aircraft noise in areas affected by changes to flight paths made as a result of the Long-term Operating Plan. Additional mobile noise monitors should be purchased to improve the effectiveness of responses to noise complaints and improve the coverage of monitoring information;

  5. regular reports should be published on the performance of the Long-term Operating Plan using a set of standard indicators which the public can understand and follow over time. There should be an annual report and a report at least each quarter;

  6. the Long-term Operating Plan should be kept under review to respond to experience and changes in the pattern of aircraft movements. Any proposed changes should be tested with the public through the Sydney Airport Community Forum before being implemented;

  7. noise insulation should be provided for households and institutions which will be affected through the implementation of the Long-term Operating Plan and fall within the criteria for financial assistance.

Commonwealth of Australia