Residents left unhappy over airport engagement

By Tate Papworth

Keilor residents have slammed the findings from Melbourne Airport’s community workshops.

The airport held a series of workshops into the possibility of switching the alignment of its long-touted third runway to north-south facing.

A total of 226 people participated in the airport’s community engagement sessions, flagging a number of key concerns.

Keilor Residents and Ratepayers spokesperson Susan Jennison said there was nothing new in the findings.

“The key finding was noise and vibration concerns. I think anyone could’ve told you that was the main concern,” Ms Jennison said.

“They’ve raised six major points – those are big issues for people, but they’re all totally predictable.

“What they haven’t said is what they’re going to do with this information. Is this what the board will make a decision on or has it just been a step to tick a box to say they’ve gone out to the local community?”

The most frequently raised topics during the two-month review were the opportunity for improved infrastructure and services, noise and flight path mitigation, and economic and job opportunities. Environmental issues and compensation were also raised.

“It’s all well and good to list these things, but where are the answers?” Ms Jennison said. “We were told the main reason for the possible switch of alignment was windsheer, but there’s no mention of windsheer from what I could see in any of this.

“There’s also a lot of people who want answers around various health and social impacts that would come with another runway, but there’s no answers.”

She said the way the workshops were set up didn’t allow for open dialogue.

“The workshop we went to was so constrained, almost orchestrated.

“I’m not sure people could really ask the questions they wanted to ask or what the aim was. Was it to really find out what people were concerned about?

“It’s raised all the points the community has for some time, but provided no answers.”