Airport Expansion Project
There is a high risk that Sunshine Coast ratepayers will be left to bail out and service the debt introduced by this Council to the tune of more than (circa) $400 million. Sunshine Coast residents, already squeezed by a tough economy, cannot afford these additional costs.
- Does the business case stack up?
- Residents do not have access to the business case for the current plan
- This is a vital piece of information for the community
What we do know is that variations of this same plan have been found wanting by many reputable organisations and potential investors including Infrastructure Australia, State and Federal Governments of both major political parties and major banks that include airports in their investment portfolios.
- Why then is it now considered to be a viable option?
- Have the following factors been taken into account?
- The full cost-benefits available by upgrading the current runway
- Construction cost blow outs
- Impact of exchange rate fluctuations on tourist numbers
- The uncompetitive and high SCA passenger landing fees imposed on airlines
- Global economic uncertainty
- Fuel price fluctuations
- The viability of airlines and routes
What about the impact of the upgrades to the Brisbane and Toowoomba airports?
- A $1.3b investment for a major upgrade the Brisbane airport began in 2012 and is scheduled for completion in 2020;
- Brisbane Airport will be even more competitive and will work hard to protect its market
- Lower passenger landing fees in Brisbane and convenient international routes mean SCA will not be able to compete
- Wellcamp Airport (Toowoomba) has completed its construction program and commenced operations in 2014
- This will mean even more competition for SCA
What is the Council’s financial exposure to homeowners who will be affected by the aircraft noise?
- Residents affected by the change in plan made their decision to build or buy on the basis of the 2007 Master Plan.
- All of the existing home sites approved in North Shore were under the 25 ANEF contour being the threshold for residences being conditionally acceptable and unacceptable (Australian Standard for Aircraft Noise Intrusion (AS 2021).
- The change in plan will force a significant number of homes in North Beach above the 25 ANEF contour – this is a serious issue for residents
- Homes will be devalued and families will need to relocate
These costs have not been taken into account!
CASA rule changes for narrow runways
The Airport Manager has for many years been warning the ratepayers of the area that the current runway is unsafe, not fit for purpose and at risk of immediate closure by Civil aviation Safety authority (CASA) and that continued operation was subject to an exemption from the mandated minimum runway requirements of CASA.
On p12 of the Summary of Major findings of the EIS, states “a key driver for the project is that regular public transport (RPT) jet services currently operate under an exemption on the existing main runway which is 30 m wide rather than the 45 m typically required by the CASA. The exemption runs until February 2015.
Curiously, there is no mention in the EIS that CASA was also proposing to no longer mandate that aerodrome operators were required to widen runways to allow continued operations or for the introduction of a new larger aircraft type and called for comment on this then proposed change up to 5th May 2014.
Yet on the day the public notification period for the EIS closed, the CASA rules around the operation of narrow runways changed to the new procedure – see the following fact sheet.
Again, the public is now expected to rely upon the word of the airport manager that this change is of no consequence. The EIS should have engaged industry on this issue and completed a rigorous assessment of the consequence of this changed rule for the preferred option.
Our Submission to the Coordinator-General
Residents For Responsible Development (ResDev) and the Mudjimba Residents Association Inc (MRA) have made a submission to the Coordinator-General questioning whether the EIS and AEIS has accurately presented the facts, appropriately assessed the potential impacts of the Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project and where necessary, proposed appropriate mitigation and/or management measures.
Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our submission – you have helped make a fulsome document as a basis for Sunshine Coast Residents to work with and ensure their voice is heard and counted.