Calling for action on aircraft noise

As Terri Butler MP recently told the parliament, "Throughout my time as the Member for Griffith, I have made a number of representations to Airservices Australia and to the Brisbane Airport Corporation, and I want to thank them for engaging with me.

Ultimately, though, it is the responsibility of the government, not unelected agencies, to call the shots. It is up to them to make sure that aircraft noise is managed well, while also making sure that Australians' domestic and international travel and freight needs are served.

When the second runway commenced operations in July, an additional cohort of my constituents—residents under the new flight path—began raising concerns about noise, in addition to those who were already under the existing flight path." 

Aviation is the federal government's responsibility, and the current federal government has been in power for eight long years. As local representatives, Di Farmer, Kara Cook, and I are calling on them to face up to their responsibility and listen to locals' concerns about aircraft noise. 

You can find our petition at the bottom of this page.

Along with fellow Brisbane-based Labor federal MPs I'm also calling on the Morrison government to establish a strong, independent, permanent Airport Community Forum for Brisbane residents.

Labor MPs call for a permanent, strong, independent community forum

Labor MPs have called on the Morrison government to introduce a permanent, independent community forum that should:

  • deal with aircraft noise abatement and related environmental issues and have access to necessary data and technical expertise;
  • have broad representation of all areas affected by airport operations;
  • be designed to avoid any perception of or susceptibility to industry capture, including by regulators, aviation companies, or the airport operator.

You can read the full release here.

The Minister's Post Implementation Review Advisory Forum

The Brisbane Airport Post Implementation Review Advisory Forum was established as an independent, community-based group for Airservices Australia to consult with during its Post Implementation Review of the airspace changes implemented for parallel runway operations.

Mr Ross Musgrove is the Independent Chair of the Forum, and its members are Hon Robert Borbidge AO, Ms Claire Moore, former Senator for Queensland, Mr Nigel Chamier AM and Professor Douglas Baker. 

You can read the letter from the Minister here, and the Forum's Terms of Reference here.

As mentioned above, along with fellow Brisbane-based Labor federal MPs I am still calling for a strong, independent, permanent Airport Community Forum for Brisbane residents.

A change of minister, and a call for a public meeting and noise monitoring adequacy

In June 2021, the Hon Barnaby Joyce MP was announced as the new Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, succeeding the Hon Michael McCormack MP.  I wrote to Barnaby Joyce to add to my previous calls for a lasting solution to aircraft noise.  I asked that, as the Minister, he advise me of the steps he intends to take to address this issue. 

You can read my letter here:

In July I wrote to Barnaby Joyce again and called for a public meeting involving a representative from the Morrison Government, Brisbane Airport Corporation and the relevant regulators. I also called for noise monitoring adequacy - I suggested an additional noise monitor to be set up, either at the top of Balmoral Hill or in Hawthorne. 

You can read my second letter to Barnaby Joyce and his response below. 

Brisbane Flight Path Community Alliance

The Brisbane Flight Path Community Alliance has been formed to bring together Brisbane residents who are concerned about aircraft noise. 

Recently the BFPCA undertook a survey to understand noise impacts. They presented a copy of the survey results to me, the Hon Di Farmer MP, and Cr Kara Cook, as local elected representatives.

You can find out about the BFPCA here, and you can read about their survey here.

I then wrote to the Deputy Prime Minister to bring the survey to his attention. 

You can read my letter, and the Deputy Prime Minister's response here:

Your local team receiving the survey results.

Your local team receiving the survey results.

At the BFPCA meetup in Hawthorne Park.

At the BFPCA meetup in Hawthorne Park.

The BFPCA June meetup in Hawthorne Park was an opportunity for us as local representatives, to hear the concern's of residents in person.

I asked residents to do three things to help on this issue:

1. Sign my petition

2. Write to Barnaby Joyce

4. Contribute to the Post Implementation Review. 

Senate Estimates

Thanks to our Labor colleague Senator Anthony Chisholm for asking questions about aircraft noise in Senate Estimates recently. Thanks also to the Brisbane Flight Path Community Alliance for suggesting topics for questions. 

Senator CHISHOLM: I have some questions around Brisbane and the new runway. When did Airservices Australia commence, and then finalise, the standard terminal arrival route and the standard departure design for the new parallel runway integration into the Brisbane basin air space?

Mr Jason Harfield, Chief Executive Officer, Airservices Australia: I have to take the specifics on notice, but the finalisation of it would probably have been about 12 months before the opening of the runway, which would have been mid-last year. You are probably talking about around 2018-19. I will correct that if it is not correct.

Read the rest of the transcript here.

Senator Chisholm also put further questions on notice.

Recent advocacy about aircraft noise in the parliament

Our advocacy, and the Morrison Government's response

Di Farmer, Kara Cook and I have been gathering signatures for our petition requesting that the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, the Hon Barnaby Joyce (previously the Hon Michael McCormack), clarify what options there are to reduce aircraft noise in our community. You can find the petition below.

We know there are many things we can’t change about the second runway and the aircraft noise we’re now experiencing. However, we understand that there are a number of decisions that are discretionary and which, if made differently, could help mitigate noise impacts.

So we wrote to the Deputy Prime Minister, requesting his response on a range of suggestions made by local residents about the options to reduce noise, and a proposed way forward to mitigate noise impacts.

When we finally received a response from the Deputy Prime Minister, it was, in our view, unsatisfactory.

You can read our letter, the list of locals' suggestions, and the Deputy Prime Minister's response here:

We would love to hear your thoughts. Let us know your response here:

Airservices Australia and the "Optimisation and Post Implementation Review"

Airservices Australia and the Aircraft Noise Ombudsman receive aircraft noise complaints.

In addition, Airservices Australia has announced it will conduct a Post Implementation Review of the flight paths and airspace changes implemented to support parallel operations, and the associated aircraft noise impacts.

You can register for updates on their website.

They have said that community and industry suggestions for alternative flight paths and/or procedures for runway modes and noise abatement will form part of the review.

We welcome the review but it does not relieve the Morrison Government of the ultimate responsibility for aviation. At the end of the day the Minister is responsible, through the parliament, to the people, for this issue. The buck stops with the elected government, not unelected officials.

The Labor Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Hon Catherine King MP, wrote to the CEO of Airservices Australia to emphasise the importance of this review to both listen to community community feedback and provide solutions.

You can read her letter here.

On 14 September 2021, I received correspondence from Airservices Australia stating they were opening registrations for community information sessions for the Post Implementation Review to be held in the following week. 

These sessions were advertised on very short notice for dates that fall within the school holidays.  I wrote to Airservices and the Deputy Prime Minister to advise them that this is not good enough, and that it undermines the credibility of the Post Implementation Review.

You can read my letter to the Deputy Prime Minister here and you can read the Deputy Prime Minister's response here.

Airservices announced on 16 September 2021 that they will postpone the community information sessions until October during the school term, and provide at least two weeks' notice for the future dates. 

Community consultation & technical workshop

In the lead-up to the opening of the second runway, I sought assurances from the Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) that they would provide information to locals about the likely noise impacts, as well as opportunities to be heard about the new flight paths. BAC has at all times undertaken that they would provide up-to-date information to affected suburbs.

The Brisbane Airport Community Aviation Consultation Group (BACACG) is a consultative forum designed to bring together government, the aviation industry, and the community to discuss a range of topics including aircraft noise, airport developments, airport operations and Terminal access. The BACACG meets four times per year. I have always ensured that our community is represented on the forum. Until recently Mr Graeme Hill of Bulimba was a local community representative on the forum, our community representative is now Mr Ben O'Donnell of Balmoral. 

After the November 2020 BACACG meeting it was decided that there would be a Technical Airspace Design Workshop. That workshop went ahead on Wednesday 24 February 2021, with representatives from Brisbane Airport Corporation, Airservices Australia, Virgin Australia, the Aircraft Noise Ombudsman, BACACG, the Brisbane Flight Path Community Alliance and the broader community.

You can read the outcomes from the workshop on the Brisbane Airport Corporation's website.

The Legacy Runway

The existing flight paths have been a concern to residents for a number of years now. When I was elected in 2014 a new Airport Master Plan was being produced (this has now been replaced with an updated 2020 Master Plan). I asked people to complete a survey that asked how important flight paths and aircraft noise was to them. I then took a range of responses and ideas from the survey results and entered into discussions with BAC and Airservices Australia.

I wrote to the Deputy Prime Minister in the Abbott and Turnbull Governments, Hon Warren Truss MP and advocated for trialling a curfew to limit overnight noise, as this was a major concern for people in our electorate. The Deputy Prime Minister rejected this suggestion. I also put forward other alternatives such as limiting the number of planes that can be scheduled in an hour, and the requirement of firmer guidance in relation to using the bay where it’s possible to do so.

Over the years, local pilots and aviation experts have contacted me with their technical suggestions to mitigate aircraft noise, I brought these suggestions to BAC and I will continue to do this. 

I have previously lobbied BAC to make sure its community support grants provided local schools with noise mitigation and by funding air-conditioning so the windows could be kept shut.

Sign our petition

We have been asking locals to sign our petition and stand together as a community to ask the LNP Federal Government in Canberra to advise us of options.

When you sign the petition, you can also register any questions or comments you might have. We can reflect your specific questions or comments in representations we make to the Deputy PM.

As a community we have stood up together on many important local issues over the years. We need to now do it again and as your local team, we are determined to do the best we can to support you.

-- Terri Butler MP, Member for Griffith, Hon Di Farmer MP, Member for Bulimba and Cr Kara Cook, Councillor for Morningside Ward


Our aircraft noise petition

We the undersigned call upon the Deputy Prime Minister to state, in non-technical terms, what options are available to reduce noise in our local suburbs following the commencement of operations of the second runway. We further call on the Deputy Prime Minister to implement any measures reasonably available to reduce noise, subject always to safety requirements.