Introduction and conduct of the inquiry
On 25 November 2009 the Senate referred the following matter to the
Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee for
inquiry and report by 1 June 2010:
An assessment of the effectiveness of Airservices Australia’s
management of aircraft noise under its responsibilities to provide air traffic
services and protect the environment from the effects associated with the
operation of aircraft for which it has legislative jurisdiction.
In undertaking this inquiry, the committee shall consider
whether Airservices Australia:
(a) has conducted an effective, open and informed public
consultation strategy with communities affected by aircraft noise;
(b) engages with industry and business stakeholders in an
open, informed and reasonable way;
(c) has adequate triggers for public consultation under
legislation and whether procedures used by Airservices Australia are compliant
with these requirements;
(d) is accountable, as a government-owned corporation, for
the conduct of its noise management strategy;
(e) has pursued and established equitable noise-sharing
arrangements in meeting its responsibilities to provide air traffic services
and to protect the environment from the effects associated with aircraft for
which it is responsible;
(f) requires a binding Community Consultation Charter to
assist it in consulting fully and openly with communities affected by aircraft
(g) any other related matter.
The committee subsequently resolved to extend the reporting date to
allow for a more detailed examination of the issues.
Although the inquiry was prompted by concerns regarding aircraft noise
and flight path changes at Perth Airport, the committee acknowledges the long
standing issues associated with the management of aircraft noise at airports
around Australia. Accordingly, the committee intends this report to be a broad
assessment of the effectiveness of Airservices Australia's management of
aircraft noise, rather than an exclusive analysis of the particular issues
associated with a specific airport.
Conduct of the inquiry
The inquiry was advertised in The Australian newspaper and on the
Internet. The committee also invited submissions from Commonwealth, state and
territory governments and interested organisations and individuals.
The committee received 181 submissions on the reference. A list of
submissions is provided in Appendix A.
Following referral of the inquiry, the committee held public hearings in
Perth on 28 April 2010, Melbourne on 21 May 2010, Sydney on 28 May 2010 and
Canberra on 10 June 2010.
The committee took evidence from approximately 40 witnesses, including
representatives of aviation industry organisations, community representatives
and individuals affected by aircraft noise. The committee also took evidence
from representatives of government bodies at the Commonwealth, state and local
level. A list of witnesses is provided in Appendix B.
The committee also undertook a site visit to Airservices Australia' facilities
at Perth Airport on 27 April 2010. The committee visited the Air Traffic
Control Tower and Terminal Control Unit.
Chapter 2 of the report provides some background information regarding
the role and responsibility of Airservices Australia. The chapter also
investigates the inter-related responsibilities of key aviation stakeholders
and the partnership approach to aircraft noise management.
Chapter 3 of the report focuses on the effectiveness of Airservices
Australia's engagement with communities affected, or likely to be affected, by
aircraft noise. The committee made use of the Western Australian Route Review
Project as a case study to inform its inquiry into the effectiveness of
community engagement, but also drew upon experiences of communities around
Chapter 4 of the report examines the effectiveness of Airservices
Australia's management of aircraft noise at airports around Australia and the
effectiveness of the Australian Noise Exposure Forecast (ANEF) system as a tool
to protect communities from the affects associated with airport operations.
Chapter 5 of the report discusses Airservices Australia's independence,
governance arrangements and accountability mechanisms. The chapter discusses the
establishment of the Aircraft Noise Ombudsman and explores the proposed
administrative and governance arrangements relating to the position.
Chapter 6 of the report sets out the committee's conclusions and
recommendations in relation to this inquiry.
Note on references
References to the Committee Hansard are to the proof transcript. Page
numbers may vary between the proof and the official transcript.
The committee acknowledges the contribution of all those individuals and
organisations who prepared written submissions and those who appeared as
witnesses. Their work assisted the committee considerably in its inquiry.
The committee regrets that it was unable to hear evidence from all those
who wished to appear in person during hearings and appreciates those
individuals and organisations that provided extensive information to assist the
committee's consideration of this matter. The committee would particularly
like to thank airport operators and Airservices Australia for providing
supplementary information at short notice to assist with the finalisation of
the committee's report.
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