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Byron Shire
April 12, 2024

Gold Coast Airport encroachment

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A further incident of a near miss at Gold Coast Airport (GCA) to add to others in recent times must not be ignored.

The troubling evidence about the safety of some budget Asian carriers was revealed by the ABC TV’s Foreign Correspondent in May this year. Indeed countries around the world will not allow entry to these carriers.

It is time that our governments stopped acting only in the interests of a private company and its shareholders and time to give consideration to the human communities and environment in the Tweed-Gold Coast area.

The GCA’s publicly exhibited ILS Major Development Plan (MDP) did not disclose perfluorinated chemicals (PFC) as the contaminant of land on the site. The approved MDP makes no disclosure the groundwater is also contaminated with PFCs.

This is despite an assessment in 2008 confirming the PFC contamination of soil, sediment and groundwater on the site but was withheld from the ILS approval process.

Contrary to claims regulators were notified of the PFC contamination 2010 and regular updates continue to be provided it has now come to light they had in fact not been notified and indeed 10 days ago NSW EPA still had not been provided relevant information including the 2008 assessment despite a number of requests.

While the Project Lift MDP did disclose the PFC contamination of soil and water on site it then dismissed it claiming it was well outside the proposed development areas. But both projects have failed to disclose the second area on the site where fire-fighting foams with PFC chemicals were used on the east of the runway near Coolangatta Creek.

How is it that a government agency and private company can operate as such a law to itself in Australia 2016 when the average citizens of our nation are required to abide by laws and regulations?

Further, the ILS approval has secured a development footprint to increase the operational length of the runway with absolutely no disclosure.

That there has been a government agency, departments and politicians party to the complete failure of process as required under Commonwealth regulations rings very loud alarm bells and an urgent far reaching investigation is warranted immediately.

(The above report was sourced through a parliamentary FOI. A request to ASA was refused. Pg. 18/19/20/24/25/26/37/40/42/45 are of particular note on my very brief review. Pg.25/26/37 and fig.3 is of significance.

The levels of PFOS contamination of groundwater are very high. I sought Dr Mariann Lloyd-Smith’s interpretation of these levels which she was surprised at the high levels.

GCA did not disclose for this study that the fire-fighting foam was also used on the east of the runway alongside Coolangatta Creek.

As with other sites around Australia it is the groundwater that is most impacted by the PFC contaminants which has had a devastating impact on communities.)

Lindy Smith, Tweed Heads


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  1. Lindy,
    What is the Airport’s reason for non-disclosure? A reason has to be given of why there is non-disclosure. To the East is the Pacific Ocean, and to the South is Tweed Estuary and to the West is Cobaki Lakes. The Lakes are tidal and water surges back and forth from the ocean by the tides. That makes the groundwater also tidal and the groundwater moves in and out to the Lakes on one side of the Airport and in and out to the ocean, and that is why there are two creeks one to the East and one to the West.
    In science there is capillary action and the groundwater level would be higher than the water in the Lakes and that would be so until the tide goes out and the gravity pull in the grains of sand is far too much and the ground water underneath the soil surface drains to the Lakes and drains to the Ocean. Aire replese water. That means the chemicals in the soil and in the groundwater at the point of contamination shift and move to the tides and go in other directions and dissolve in water and others would not dissolve. Oils float on water and many chemical molecules will not mix with water, and that means water movement is a means of transportation for those chemical molecules.


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