In recent years, aircraft noise has increased significantly over homes in suburbs including East Melbourne, Richmond, Fitzroy, Kensington and Docklands - putting Melbourne's liveability under strain.
I have worked with local residents, Greens Senator Janet Rice and Greens Councillors Rohan Leppert and Cathy Oke to push for action.
We have pursued every available opportunity to fix this problem – but it is clear that to protect Melbourne’s liveability we need to change the law on aircraft noise.
On 28 November 2016, Adam introduced the Air Services Amendment Bill 2016 to tackle aircraft noise and give residents a voice.
The Air Services Amendment Bill 2016 is being introduced to create greater protections for communities affected by aircraft noise.
Communities affected by aircraft noise or changed flight paths above residential areas currently enjoy limited recourse beyond seeking voluntary agreements with aircraft operators known as ‘Fly Neighbourly Agreements’. Legislation is unclear as to the accountability of government agencies to respond to resident concerns.
This bill will set clear requirements for consultation and reporting on the part of Airservices Australia. The bill will require AA to minimise impact of aircraft operations on the human and natural environment, community amenity and residential areas. The bill will also ensure that communities affected by aircraft noise are adequately consulted and have stronger representation in these consultations. It will do this by establishing an independent Aircraft Noise Ombudsman and an independent Community Aviation Advocate.
Because under the Act Airservices Australia currently is not responsible for carrying out activities to protect community amenity and residential areas from the effects of aircraft noise, it does not control airspace at low altitudes over many residential areas. As such, in some residential areas, AA is unable to control the impact of low-flying small aircraft. In inner Melbourne, there are now specific and acute circumstances of high intensity flights of small aircraft in uncontrolled airspace. The bill will require Airservices Australia to prepare a plan for management of flight paths and air space in central Melbourne, including by prohibiting flights of helicopters and fixed wing aircraft below 2,000m above sea level within 5km of central Melbourne, with clear exemptions in the public interest for emergency services, hospitals, defence, and other like aircraft.