Residents rally to fight runway

(Picture supplied)

By Tate Papworth

Concerned community members have joined forces in a bid to stop a proposed north-south runway at Melbourne Airport from getting off the ground.

The Melbourne Airport Community Action Group was formed after the airport announced it would review the alignment for its long-planned third runway.

The airport had initially planned for an east-west alignment, however it says recent data revealed a north-south option may be better.

A north-south runway would mean additional aircraft traffic over Brimbank suburbs, including Keilor.

Group spokesperson Hannah Robertson said after some research it became clear the community needed a voice.

“I quickly realised the devastating impact a north-south runway would have on the community, not just Keilor, but for a large portion of Brimbank,” she said.

“There are significant noise concerns – for example there are seven schools which will be under noise contours – those schools wouldn’t be able to be built under those conditions if they didn’t already exist.

“Aircraft noise significantly impacts children’s learning and cognitive development … And that’s not even mentioning the traffic and infrastructure congestion.”

The group is partnering with the Hume Residents Airport Action Group and Keilor Residents and Ratepayers Association.

“I’m a reasonably informed person and it shocked me how little I knew,” Ms Robertson said. “I can’t help but wonder if I knew nothing, then how much does the wider community know? We’ve created a Facebook group where people can post evidence-based articles and information.”

The group also hopes to spread the word through other means.

“We’re hoping to do a leaflet drop to over 33,000 homes in Brimbank. Obviously costs associated with printing are high, so we’re hoping once word spreads a few more people will donate.

“We’re also looking to do a community forum, which will feature independent experts. I’m not doubting the airport, but I think people want to hear from independent sources.”

The group is yet to set a date for the forum.