Brisbane Airport’s Community Group off to a flying start

Airport operations and community impacts are the focus of the Brisbane Airport Community Aviation Consultation Group (BACACG), which met for the first time at Brisbane Airport last week.

BACACG includes six Community Interest Monitors from relevant federal electorates within the 15-kilometre zone around Brisbane Airport, as well as representatives of the Queensland Premier and the Brisbane Lord Mayor, as well as nominees from the major airlines, Air Services Australia and Brisbane Airport Corporation.

Independent Chair of BACACG, former Queensland Governor Major-General Peter Arnison AC, CVO, said the first meeting was successful in establishing draft terms of reference for the Group, which would meet at least three times a year to discuss matters arising in the community as a result of operations at Brisbane Airport, including aircraft noise, surface transport, disability access and environmental issues.

General Arnison said the growth of Brisbane Airport, particularly the future operations of a runway system that will cater for a doubling of passenger numbers over the next 20 years, required strong and sustainable links with the community, which could only occur if there is a genuine and sustained engagement between the airport, its stakeholders and the community at large.

"Brisbane's capital city airport has a wide range of impacts on all our lives, whether from an economic and business point of view, or servicing the tourism industry, or facilitating safe and reliable passenger and freight air travel, or contributing to the livability of our communities. To ensure Brisbane remains a sustainable and attractive place to live, and also to ensure it is economically competitive, Brisbane Airport must provide transparent, accessible information about current and future operations, which is a major focus of the Group," Major-General Arnison said.

"I am encouraged that we have attracted dedicated and enthusiastic Community Interest Monitors onto the Group, whose task is to ensure that the Airport is responsive and accountable in how it goes about engaging with the local community. With the technical assistance of the airlines and agencies, BACACG will seek to provide detailed and meaningful information to address community issues, and to ensure that relevant information is shared with the community.”

Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) CEO and Managing Director, Julieanne Alroe, welcomed the launch of BACACG, saying it was a key part of Brisbane Airport's community engagement program, which also included a series of regular public forums held around Brisbane, an integrated planning forum with Brisbane City Council and the Queensland Government, and the Brisbane Airport Experience Centre - the first of its kind in Australia.

"As Airport operator, we believe we have a good story to tell, and we believe we have the partnerships in place to adopt world's best practice technologies and systems to better manage issues such as aircraft noise. However, none of that is any good if we do not also have best practice community engagement in place. Major General Arnison's role is absolutely vital to ensure we have a fully independent, genuinely community-based and meaningful reference group such as BACACG to create and sustain dialogue which meets the community's expectations for its capital city Airport," Ms Alroe said.

BACACG formation was part of a commitment outlined in the Brisbane Airport Master Plan approval process, and it also complies with the Federal Government’s National Aviation Policy White Paper. The White Paper called for greater engagement between airports and their communities, and for the establishment of a series of consultative bodies to address issues such as aircraft noise.Final arrangements on how to communicate with the BACACG group are currently being established. In the meantime, interested people can refer any enquiries through BAC’s existing online community forum at www.brisbaneairport.com.au.