Alannah MacTiernan

Alannah MacTiernan

Minister for Planning and Infrastructure

    States opposed to non-aviation development on airport land

    24/11/2005 12:00 AM

    State and Territory Governments have united at the Australian Transport Council in opposition to the way in which the Commonwealth Government was dealing with non-aviation developments on airport lands.

    At last week’s meeting in Hobart, every State and Territory told of planning disasters as a result of the Federal Government’s use of airport land for non-aviation uses and for their refusal to comply with, or even consider, State planning and environmental laws.

    Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan first initiated national debate at the ATC conference earlier this year.

    “A number of States talked about major traffic chaos as a result of large retail and showroom facilities being developed on airport land,” Ms MacTiernan said.

    “Others spoke of unfair advantages for developers not having to make contributions for infrastructure to which other developers on any other land would have to contribute.

    “Road infrastructure contributions, in particular, were a real issue.”

    The Minister outlined the situation in Western Australia, where a brickworks was being proposed on airport land without any formal reference to State environmental and planning laws.

    Last week, the Commonwealth rejected a modest motion from the States and Territories for the Airports Act to be changed to provide for the formal referral of these non-aviation developments to the relevant planning and environmental authorities for approval.

    Ms MacTiernan said WA was one of the worst affected States, due to the potential environmental consequences of the brickworks development.

    “Even if the Commonwealth imposed strict environmental conditions on the development, there appears to be no mechanism for the environmental provisions to be monitored or enforced,” she said.

    “It also appeared that it was unlikely the cumulative effects of this plant with the other brickworks already in operation would be taken into account in the development.”

    Ms MacTiernan said she totally supported the Federal Government having complete control over any aviation uses and even uses that were incidental to aviation.

    However, when it came to developments which were completely unconnected to aviation, it was wrong for there to be no role for the State agencies to ensure that the bigger picture for planning and environmental issues were fully considered.

    “The States are not opposed to non-aviation uses on these lands - it make sense where the land is surplus to aviation requirements,” the Minister said.

    “The States and Territories have no problem with the Commonwealth seeking to capitalise on this land - however, it should not come at the cost of the communities that surround the project.”

    Ms MacTiernan said the WA Government would shortly present a strong submission to the Federal Government on the proposed brickworks.

    Minister's Office - 9213 6400