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Council officer breaks ranks to call for Brisbane Airport noise study

A Brisbane City Council officer has urged a Senate inquiry to recommend a new aircraft noise study be done to allow planners and decision-makers to give more consideration to health impacts.

While the council made its own submission to the inquiry, noting the importance of Brisbane Airport to the city’s economy, Alex Marchuk from the council’s natural environment, water and sustainability division, complained of “a lack of up-to-date research on aircraft noise associated with Australian airports, particularly Brisbane Airport”.

A Senate committee is holding an inquiry into the impact and mitigation of aircraft noise.

A Senate committee is holding an inquiry into the impact and mitigation of aircraft noise.Credit: Adobe Stock

“Currently, land use planning for Brisbane and other Australian airports is based on a study that is
now over 40 years old,” wrote Marchuk, a long-time program officer who has also written papers on noise regulation.

“This study forms the basis for Australian Standard … used to determine the Australian Noise Exposure Forecast (ANEF) contours used for land use planning in all Australian cities.

“This study does not address all the health effects of aircraft noise and Brisbane Airport was not assessed in this study.”

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In the council submission, Deputy Mayor Krista Adams made no mention of the need for a new study, instead arguing “land use planning should not be the only mechanism relied upon to mitigate noise”, with other options including changes to flight paths.

“While flight paths and aircraft noise are outside Brisbane City Council’s jurisdiction, it has always been our view that noise abatement measures must be taken seriously to achieve a balance between residential amenity and the important function of the airport,” Adams wrote.

Marchuk, however, argued new research was required to “inform land use planning and provide strategic direction in relation to noise mitigation”.

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