Australia — Revised Noise Map good for Williamtown

The Depart­ment of Defence today released a revised air­craft noise map for RAAF Base Williamtown which promis­es an improved out­look for local res­i­dents, the Deputy Chief of Air Force has announced.
Air Vice-Mar­shal (AVM) Geoff Brown and Mr David Broyd (Man­ag­er Sus­tain­able Plan­ning, Port Stephens Coun­cil) said the new noise map – although still a con­cept map – is the cul­mi­na­tion of 12 months of con­sul­ta­tions between Defence, state and local author­i­ties, com­mu­ni­ty groups and indi­vid­u­als regard­ing the intro­duc­tion of the Joint Strike Fight­er (JSF) at RAAF Base Williamtown in 2017.

Sen­a­tor David Feeney, Par­lia­men­tary Sec­re­tary for Defence, wel­comed the release of the new noise map. “At the elec­tion, Labor pledged to replace the cur­rent noise Aus­tralian Noise Expo­sure Fore­cast (ANEF) by the end of this year. This new map fufills that promise.”

“Williamtown is one of the RAAF’s key instal­la­tions, and both it and the Salt Ash Weapons Range play a vital role in Australia’s defence. The gov­ern­ment is aware that air­craft noise is an issue for com­mu­ni­ties around Williamtown and Salt Ash, and will con­tin­ue to work with local com­mu­ni­ties to reduce noise expo­sure as much as possible.”

“Fol­low­ing an accel­er­at­ed review of Air Force’s pro­posed JSF train­ing activ­i­ties, Air Force announced ear­li­er this year that it would halve the JSF’s pro­ject­ed use of the Salt Ash Air Weapons Range. A con­cept map released on 17 May 2010 result­ed in a sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduced num­ber of poten­tial­ly affect­ed prop­er­ties around the Range,” AVM Brown said.

In sub­se­quent dis­cus­sions with the Port Stephens Coun­cil, Defence agreed to also assess all options to mit­i­gate air­craft noise clos­er to RAAF Base Williamtown.

“This lat­est con­cept map takes into account the recon­fig­ur­ing of instru­ment approach sys­tems and air­craft approach­es to and from RAAF Base Williamtown. In good news for adja­cent com­mu­ni­ties, this has result­ed in a con­trac­tion of the noise con­tours in some areas to the north-west of the base,” said AVM Brown.

“Defence’s assess­ment of the cost and oper­a­tional impact of extend­ing the Williamtown run­way is, how­ev­er, ongo­ing. A run­way exten­sion is yet to be fac­tored into the con­cept map,“ explained AVM Brown.

Fol­low­ing com­ple­tion of fur­ther mod­el­ling, Defence plans to con­sol­i­date the con­cept maps into a new 2025 Aus­tralian Noise Expo­sure Fore­cast (2025 ANEF) map for endorse­ment by the end of 2010 to replace the 2025 ANEF pro­mul­gat­ed in Octo­ber 2009,” AVM Brown said.

“Release of the lat­est con­cept map is wel­comed as it pro­vides updat­ed infor­ma­tion to Port Stephens Coun­cil as it works to imple­ment its plan­ning and devel­op­ment guide­lines,” said Mr Broyd.

“It comes after exten­sive nego­ti­a­tions between Defence and Coun­cil to achieve a fair­er out­come for local residents.” 

“With still sev­en years to the JSF’s arrival, the pub­lic con­sul­ta­tions in late 2009 marked the begin­ning, not the end, of pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on JSF’s intro­duc­tion,” AVM Brown stressed.

Defence is yet to for­mal­ly refer JSF’s intro­duc­tion to the Envi­ron­ment Min­is­ter under the Envi­ron­ment Pro­tec­tion & Bio­di­ver­si­ty Con­ser­va­tion (EPBC) Act. Once referred, Defence expects the Envi­ron­ment Min­is­ter will require a fur­ther for­mal envi­ron­men­tal study to be under­tak­en and this study will involve fur­ther pub­lic consultation. 

“Assess­ment under the EPBC Act may result in fur­ther amend­ments to the 2025 ANEF some­time in the future,” explained AVM Brown. 

Fur­ther com­ment: Dr Adam Carr in Sen­a­tor Feeney’s office: 02 6277 3415 

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Australia 

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