Brisbane Flight Path Community Alliance – people before planes

The local government election on 16 March 2024 offers another significant chance to fight excessive noise pollution from Brisbane Airport’s flight paths. Local governments can be powerful advocates for their communities, even on matters they don’t directly control. We asked each party hoping to win at this year’s Brisbane local government election whether they will support Brisbane communities affected by aircraft noise. These are the results in BFPCA’s 2024 Council Election Score Card, and you can read each party’s full response below.

Make your own assessment, and make your vote count 🗳

Authorised by M. Foth, BFPCA, PO Box 2031, New Farm QLD 4005.
Updated 07/02/2024. Download PDF >

Enrol to Vote

The 2024 local government election in Queensland will be held on Saturday 16 March 2024. Please make sure you enrol to vote. You can check your enrolment details here and if required update your enrolment here. Information about the location of polling booths or postal voting can be found here.

Vote for quieter skies

Our skies are abuzz with aircraft noise and now drones delivering pizza, air taxis flying the rich to Noosa – it’s all happening over YOUR roof taking off from the nearby Bunnings or Officeworks car park. It’s like a sci-fi turned real, but our reality isn’t quite like The Jetsons. This local government elections on Saturday 16 March 2024 vote for quieter skies. Find out more >

Explanation of Key Community Demands

1. Advocate on behalf of the community

Demand: Council will use all available avenues (such as BACACG and AACACG memberships) to advocate for Greater Brisbane community’s demands for significant net noise reductions at Brisbane Airport and Archerfield Airport.

Context: For example, Brisbane City Council enjoys membership on the Brisbane Airport Community Aviation Consultation Group (BACACG) with two representatives and Archerfield Airport Community Aviation Consultation Group (AACACG) with one representative.

2. Support for a curfew and flight cap

Demand: Issue a formal Council motion in support of introducing a federally legislated curfew and flight cap at Brisbane Airport, and communicating this to the relevant Federal Minister. Furthermore, leverage relationships, political clout and communications channels available to Council to advocate for the community’s demands for net noise reductions at the federal level. This includes making detailed submissions and representations to relevant government agencies and the federal Minister for Transport and Infrastructure to enact the community’s demands for an urgent re-design of Brisbane’s airspace, a legislated curfew, flight cap, and a Long-term Operating Plan.

Context: Curfews operate at Sydney, Essendon, Gold Coast and Adelaide airports and many international airports overseas as a vital instrument to protect communities from aircraft noise pollution and allow residents to sleep at night. A flight cap in the form of an Airport Capacity Declaration for Brisbane Airport, as provided for under the Airports Act 1996, Section 195, will provide Greater Brisbane families and communities with certainty about the maximum number of flights to expect on a given day and into the future.

3. Commission independent studies into the flight noise impacts

Demand: Council will commission and appropriately fund independent scientific studies into Greater Brisbane flight noise impacts with a view to establishing and mandating noise limits. This would look at implications for (i) the health and wellbeing of Greater Brisbane residents; (ii) the learning and cognitive progress of children in schools and colleges affected by aircraft noise pollution; (iii) effects on medical, aged care and other community service facilities, and; (iv) property prices of homes under flight paths.

Context: A new research report estimates upwards of 242,000 Greater Brisbane residents are severely impacted by aircraft noise pollution from Brisbane Airport. Health and social costs are estimated at $9,000 per person per year based on a methodology from recent research on Brussels airport in Belgium. By 2032, Brisbane Airport’s excessive aircraft noise problem will drain $18.9 billion from Queensland’s health budget. Furthermore, in its submission to the Australian Government’s 2023 Aviation Green Paper, Brisbane City Council rightly states that, “The current National Airports Safeguarding Framework (NASF) and Australian Noise Exposure Forecast (ANEF) approach is not sufficient to assist in the mitigation of aircraft noise. Current maximum noise levels do not reflect actual noise experienced by affected residences, and measures required to attenuate the noise is therefore inadequate.”

4. Oppose Brisbane Airport’s gag orders

Demand: Council will reject any attempts by Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) to gag noise complainants and will not require the registration of any covenants on land titles. Council will not allow BAC’s Aerotropolis growth and profit ambitions to take priority over the needs of Greater Brisbane residents and communities, and thus curtail the supply of urgently needed housing across Greater Brisbane and SEQ.

Context: On 10 Dec 2021, BAC submitted a request to Brisbane City Council urging them to require the registration of covenants that would restrict future home buyers from making aircraft noise complaints at the $63 million master-planned 855-home Bulimba Barracks site. Such a covenant would set a dangerous precedent.

5. Oppose drone delivery services and air taxis

Demand: Council strongly opposes the introduction of drone delivery services and air taxis in Brisbane without proactive regulation, adequate oversight and social licence through meaningful community engagement and participation.

Context: The Council of Mayors South East Queensland (COMSEQ) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with international air mobility company Wisk to bring autonomous flying taxis to Brisbane by the 2032 Olympics. The proposal has drawn criticism as it has been drafted without any community engagement in order to obtain a social licence to operate, ignores noise and other pollution concerns, and prioritises the wealthy whilst failing to address the transportation needs of everyday residents. Wing, a subsidiary of Alphabet (Google’s parent company), aims to develop a drone delivery network capable of handling millions of orders within a year. The company is already testing its drones at scale in Logan where it delivers up to 1,000 packages daily. Despite the Logan test sites already triggering a huge spike in noise complaints due to the concentrated flight paths over residential areas, Wing is aggressively expanding across South East Queensland, and has started operating in Ipswich and at the Gold Coast. These delivery drones travel at up to 100km/h adding to the noise pollution at low altitudes with a high pitch buzzing mosquito-like noise profile. Furthermore, privatising the sky and granting control to companies like Wing raises many questions about safety, public space and regulation.

6. Compensation for affected communities

Demand: Council strongly support the introduction of a compensation scheme for airport-impacted communities across Greater Brisbane.

Context: In June 2023, the National General Assembly of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) endorsed a motion submitted by Brimbank City Council, Melbourne that ALGA advocate for the Australian Government to establish a compensation scheme for airport-impacted communities. Compensation must also entail declaring Brisbane Airport a leviable airport under the Aircraft Noise Levy Act 1995 to impose and collect aircraft noise levies. These levies are to be distributed as compensation to all Brisbane residents in the vicinity of any of Brisbane Airport’s flight paths and within the noise contours associated with compromised health and educational outcomes. Compensation is not the end-all and has to come as part of a package of other measures.

Editorial Commentary by BFPCA

This score card is issued by BFPCA and is based on responses received as of 02/02/2024. If any additional responses or amendments are received between now and 16/03/2024, we will update this page. BFPCA invited the three main parties on 18/01/2024 to provide their responses and commentary. Responses were received as follows: Tracey Price, Labor 2024 Candidate for Mayor of Brisbane (including a response from Cr Lucy Collier, Councillor for Morningside Ward) – 31/01/2024; Jonathan Sriranganathan, Greens 2024 Candidate for Lord Mayor of Brisbane – 31/01/2024; Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner (LNP), Mayor of Brisbane, no response as of 02/02/2024.

EDIT 07/02/2024: A response has been received from the LNP today, and the score card has been updated accordingly. You can find the full response below.

Please note that some responses received to specific items contain disclaimers or qualifiers that indicate a partial but not a full commitment. Please make your own assessment using the full responses available below. For queries relating to these responses, please email the respective party spokespeople directly:

Full Response Statements

Liberal-National Party

Queensland Labor

Queensland Greens

BFPCA’s Letter to the Mayoral Candidates

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