Monday, February 26, 2024

Brimbank and Hume councils unite to ground airport planning control changes

Brimbank City Council and Hume City Council have joined forces to express concerns about proposed changes to planning controls to protect the operations of Melbourne Airport. 

A joint submission by both councils to the Melbourne Airport Environs Safeguarding Standing Advisory Committee (MAESSAC) Issues and Options Paper, provides feedback about potential changes to airport-related planning policies and controls and proposed new controls. 

The councils partnered to develop a submission as both share similar issues and concerns given the proximity of the municipalities to the airport and each other. 

“While Hume City Council recognises the significance of Melbourne Airport as the City’s largest employer, there needs to be a balance between safeguarding airport operations and our community’s need for housing and infrastructure,” said Hume Mayor, Joseph Haweil.

“The proposed revisions and controls are prohibitive and simplistic, and it’s crucial the Committee consider how this could inhibit development in Hume City; one of Australia’s fastest-growing areas.  

“Council is particularly concerned about the MAEO expansion’s impact on suburban revitalisation in Hume. For example, Hume City has a significant need for new and increased social housing in the Broadmeadows area and their development could be significantly limited under proposed changes.”

While the joint submission supports a range of proposed planning changes that strengthen the safeguarding of Melbourne Airport, it also raises concerns that there isn’t an appropriate balance between protecting Melbourne Airport and enabling appropriate growth and development in Brimbank and Hume. 

Both Councils say there are particular concerns that the expansion of the Melbourne Airport Environs Overlay (MAEO) could restrict the development of both the Sunshine and Broadmeadows Metropolitan Activity Centres, which are major locations for growth in the State Government’s Plan Melbourne, and development in surrounding areas. 

“Our priority is to make sure that future airport related planning provisions don’t have a negative impact on our community and the appropriate growth and development of Brimbank,” said Brimbank Mayor, Ranka Rasic. 

“Our submission supports some proposed planning changes that strengthen the safeguarding of Melbourne Airport, but we want a better balance that enables the appropriate growth of our City, in line with the Plan Melbourne metropolitan strategy. 

“We’re not disputing the impact of aircraft noise on locations like Keilor and Keilor Park. Council knows these areas are impacted by aircraft noise, which is why the Melbourne Airport Environs Overlay Schedule 1 and 2 is so important. Rather, we are saying that the impact of aircraft noise is significantly different in other areas of the municipality like Sunshine and the surrounds, and the impact does not warrant overly restrictive land use and development controls in these areas. 

“This submission is a starting point for future discussions on the topic. We look forward to further strategic work and consultation on the matter.” 

The joint submission also questions the proposal to give Melbourne Airport’s owner, Australia Pacific Airports Melbourne (APAM), ‘determining referral authority’ status. This means that councils would need to refuse planning permits for new development if APAM objects. 

“At the end of the day, Melbourne Airport’s owner has commercial interests and these interests could compromise their responsibility as a referral authority,” said Mayor Haweil 

“We have outlined a number of alternative approaches for the Committee to consider which would allow for strategic, site-specific and design responses to address noise exposure and ensure the community’s needs can continue to be met.” 

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