Land near Koo Wee Rup
, a town situated southeast of Melbourne’s central business district, could be the site of Melbourne’s new airport.
If approved for construction, the new airport would serve one-third of Victoria’s population, and would connect tourists to nearby attractions like Phillip Island and the Mornington Peninsula
. The new airport would also supplement the existing main international airport at Tullamarine, as well as the secondary, low-cost option at Avalon, near Geelong.
The Andrews Labor Government, which supports the project, has pledged to identify land for the new airport in the next five years. It has also pledged to preserve this future option by incorporating planning protection for flight paths and noise contours.
A third airport is a key proposal of Plan Melbourne 2017-2050
, a metropolitan planning strategy that aims to manage growth in the city and its surrounding suburbs to the year 2050.
A spokesperson for Planning Minister Richard Wynne said the future airport had been earmarked for operation beyond 2030, should demand deem it necessary. “Melbourne Airport and Avalon Airport still have capacity to take more flights, but nevertheless we won’t make the same mistakes Sydney has made,” the spokesperson said. “We need to plan ahead for aviation to avoid being blindsided as Victoria grows.”
Despite all the positive talk, it would be up to the Commonwealth Government to grant aviation approvals for the project to push through. The private sector would also be required to fund the development.
To add to these challenges, the project is not without its detractors.
The Green Wedges Coalition’s Rosemary West said her group was against the project, citing environmental concerns. “We don’t want another airport covered in shopping centres and other commercial developments not normally allowed in the Green Wedges,” she said.
Brett Owen, mayor of Cardinia Shire, said the council welcomed the state government’s commitment to identifying and selecting a suitable location for the new airport.
“Our region will continue to experience significant growth over the coming years and SEM believes the development and operation of an airport will be a major economic and employment driver for our communities,” Owen said. “We also welcome the commitment by the State Government to incorporate a connection to the rail line at Clyde as part of their investigation into possible sites.”
With Melbourne’s population projected to increase significantly in the coming decades, a world-class airport would support the city’s future development. It would also help attract new investors, property developers, and businesses to the southeast, ensuring the continued dynamism of greater Melbourne for years to come.
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