Approval granted for Perth's New Runway
Perth Airport had submitted a comprehensive and detailed draft Major Development Plan (MDP) to the Federal Government for approval.
The draft MDP involved years of engagement with airline partners, stakeholders and all levels of government on a range of issues including aviation operations, airspace management and flight corridors, aircraft noise, heritage and environmental issues.
The draft MDP process also included one of the largest ever community consultation efforts for a major project in Western Australia, including contacting more than 300,000 homes and businesses.
It is estimated that the project would see $520million of investment with almost 500 jobs created during construction.
The new runway will underpin the future operations of the airport and provide airlines the opportunity to grow and expand their route network. It is expected to inject around $2 billion into the tourism sector in its first two decades of operation.
Perth Airport CEO Kevin Brown said the Federal Government’s approval is an endorsement of the work done by Perth Airport in engaging and consulting with governments and the community.
“This has been an immense effort on the part of the Perth Airport team,” Mr Brown said.
“This has been a lengthy and complex approvals process but we have been open and transparent throughout.
“We know from a pre-Covid survey of 2,600 people that four out five Western Australians either ‘support’ or ‘strongly support’ the new runway, while just four per cent oppose it.
“We understand that a new runway means new flight paths and we understand that not everyone is going to be happy about that. So, we are committed to continuing to talk to the community, understanding their concerns and helping them become better informed about Perth’s New Runway.
“In due course, AirServices Australia will be working to finalise the actual flight paths and this will be another opportunity to communicate with the community.”
Mr Brown said Perth Airport was committed to ensuring the Munday Swamp heritage site remains protected and accessible to current and future generations of Noongar traditional custodians.
“We’ve already significantly modified the design of the runway to ensure the Munday Swamp indigenous heritage site will be protected,” Mr Brown said.
“The original 1985 design of the runway and taxiways would have seen all of Munday Swamp filled-in and destroyed.
“Our 2018 design moved the runway as far south as possible, shortened the length from 3,800 metres to 3,000 metres, and diverted the taxiway system around the swamp.
“These actions saw the impact of the runway greatly minimised and would have seen around 90 per cent of the heritage area remain intact. This led to the State Government granting a
Section 18 cultural heritage approval in May 2018 for the project to proceed.
“Perth Airport did not take this approval for granted and has since done significant additional design work to further minimise any impact.
“Our most recent designs have now ensured that no airport or ancillary infrastructure will be located in the swamp’s main water body.
“We have also ensured that there is minimal impact upon the designated heritage area surrounding the swamp, now limited to support alignment of a mandatory security fence and an emergency access road that is otherwise largely outside the designated heritage area.
“We are proud of our efforts to preserve this unique place and will continue to pursue further reductions as we finalise the runway design.
“We will also engage traditional custodians as cultural advisers and observers throughout the construction process.”
Mr Brown said the next step in the process was for Perth Airport to satisfy the conditions attached to the approval and to continue talks with key stakeholders on a funding model.
“We will be working with the Federal and State Governments to determine a comprehensive environmental offsets strategy to compensate for the land clearing required for the runway
site,” Mr Brown said.
“This will focus on restoring degraded bushland, an approach endorsed by the recent draft report from the independent review of the EPBC Act.”
Mr Brown has thanked the Federal Minister for Infrastructure, the Hon Michael McCormack, the Federal Minister for the Environment, the Hon Sussan Ley, and officials from the
Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, and the Department for Agriculture, Water and the Environment for their assistance and efforts
during the MDP process.