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May 31, 2023

Labor helps block move for Gold Coast airport probe

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The Gold Coast airport expansion to accommodate the antiquated ILS will wipe out hectares of important wetland in NSW.
The Gold Coast airport expansion to accommodate the antiquated ILS will wipe out hectares of important wetland in NSW.

A move in the senate yesterday aimed at deferring the federal government’s controversial approval for an instrument landing system (ILS) for Coolangatta airport was blocked after Labor joined the coalition to defeat it.

The Greens motion follow the recent approval of the $10-million ILS which they say paves the way for the contentious extension of the airport runway into environmentally sensitive Crown land in NSW, on the Tweed side of the state border.

The approval has been described by the Greens as an ‘act of subterfuge’ that is all about the twice-defeated plans for a runway extension and are calling for a public inquiry into how public land was being transferred to the privately-run Gold Coast Airport for the expansion.

Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon said ‘considering the problems that have been identified with the ILS installation it was very disappointing that Labor voted with the Nationals and Liberals to block this important Senate motion’.

Richmond MP Justine Elliot (Labor) failed to mention the Senate vote by her colleagues, when asked to comment by Echonetdaily. The Greens say Labor has  badly let down the Tweed community.

Mrs Elliot said in a brief statement this morning that she was ‘always happy to make direct representations to the Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, Warren Truss’ on the issue, ‘if anyone wants to raise any further issues regarding the airport’.

Senator Rhiannon said she shared the concerns of many locals about the potential for increased noise pollution that would result from a new flight path associated with the ILS.

‘The collusion between the Coalition parties and Labor will certainly add to the suspicions that the $10 million ILS could be cover for bigger development plans around this airport,’ she said.

Greens candidate for Richmond, Dawn Walker, said she was disappointment that Labor voted with the government in parliament ‘against residents opposed to the Gold Coast Airport runway extension’.

The motion called on the federal government to defer its approval of the ILS installation to allow an investigation to be held into the NSW Crown Land lease ‘and the availability of more cost effective and environmentally friendly technology’.

The full motion is that the Senate

a) Notes that

i) The Federal Government has approved an Instrument Landing System (ILS) for the Gold Coast Airport (GCA) at a cost of $10 million;
ii) Qantas Group head of safety and compliance Mark Cameron has written to former GCA chief operating officer David Collins stating Qantas does not support the ILS proposal, claiming it is not value for money and will likely be outdated technology;
iii) Residents from Coolangatta to Surfers Paradise will experience more noise pollution due to a new flight path associated with the ILS, particularly if a runway extension results in larger aircraft flying over the Tweed;
iv) The former NSW deputy premier and NSW National Party leader Andrew Stoner granted the GCA an 84-year lease over the NSW Crown Reserve for Public Recreation/Conservation for any and all airport facilities including works associated with a runway extension (NSW Government Gazette No. 138, 18/10/13);
v) Under the Air Services Act, the ILS is exempt from any NSW land-use laws or regulations protecting the environmental assets of the Crown Reserve;
vi) Fishing industry representatives are concerned that the clearing of the Cobaki wetlands and saltmarsh required for the ILS would impact on Class 1 fish-breeding habitat; and
b) Calls for the Federal Government to defer its approval for the ILS installation to allow an investigation to be held into the NSW Crown Land lease and the availability of more cost effective and environmentally friendly technology.

For related Echonetdaily stories see:

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  1. ILS should have been installed at Coolangatta years ago. It is a safety issue. At present in bad weather planes are diverted to Brisbane because Coolangatta does not have ILS.
    Yes Coolangatta will progressively a more important international airport and yes, doh, the runway is too short to take some of the larger jets.
    We would all remember the Greens hysteria a few years back when the new highway underpass under the runway was built. There were claims acid sulphate soils disturbed would result in fish kills. It didn’t happen. It was never going to happen. Greens merely need to get some profile to try to be relevant. Pick up any issue. Make outlandish statements and try to get some attention. Sad but true. Probably why 90% of Australians don’t vote Greens?


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