Deputy Chief of Air Force, Air Vice-Marshal (AVM) Geoff Brown, today released the report on the initial 12 months of public consultations on the potential environmental impacts from the introduction of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) in 2017.
The report – Operation of the New Air Combat Capability Supplementary Report to the 2009 Public Environment Report – reflects outcomes from Defence consultations with federal, state and local authorities, community groups and individuals around Australia’s main operational air bases.
The Supplementary Report:
- consolidates the public feedback on the Public Environment Report;
- provides Defence’s response to the issues raised and outlines mitigation initiatives being considered;
- outlines the forthcoming formal Environmental Impact Statement process to be followed for the JSF’s introduction; and
- outlines the scope for future public consultations.
“It is important to understand that Defence’s public consultations to date on JSF’s introduction have been initiated voluntarily by Defence – they have not been mandated under any environmental legislation,” AVM Brown said.
“Defence released the Public Environment Report in late 2009 to provide an initial opportunity for stakeholders to ask questions and voice any concerns with the planned introduction of the JSF.”
“The majority of issues raised over the year relate to future operations at RAAF Base Williamtown and the Salt Ash Air Weapons Range,” AVM Brown said.
AVM Brown noted that with seven years to go until JSF’s planned arrival, the public consultations in late 2009 marked the beginning, not the end, of public consultation on JSF’s introduction.
“The Public Environment Report was based on the best available information at the time and that information is being continually updated,” AVM Brown said.
The Supplementary Report is a key document for Defence’s forthcoming referral to the Environment Minister for assessment/approval of the JSF’s introduction.
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.
Release of the report was originally planned for earlier this year, however, release was postponed to enable consideration of the report by the Port Stephens Council. It also allowed Defence to fully consider all options to reduce potential aircraft noise impacts,” AVM Brown said.
The report includes the latest, and improved, aircraft concept noise maps. 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.
Ministerial Support and Public Affairs,
Department of Defence,