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Correspondence—2016—Chair to Minister re Meeting 1 2016

The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Infrastructure and Transport
PO Box 6022
Parliament House

Dear Minister

The Sydney Airport Community Forum (SACF) was established to provide advice on the abatement of aircraft noise and related environmental issues at Sydney Airport. I have attached a copy of the Terms or Reference for SACF, for your information. The Forum met on 19 February 2016 and discussed a range of issues relating to Sydney Airport.

In my time as Chair I have attempted to increase the extent to which the Forum engages with the community. To this end I would like to recommend that you consider appointing Mr Bob Hayes as the Community Representative for the Northern Region. This position has been vacant for several years, and Mr Hayes has a high level of knowledge and experience as the long-time representative of the former Member for North Sydney on SACF. This position will complement the effective contributions currently made by the Community Representatives for the Western and Southern Regions.

The Australian Noise Exposure Forecast (ANEF) is a noise metric used in land use planning decisions in the vicinity of airports, and is underpinned by a survey of community reaction to aircraft noise conducted in 1982 by the National Acoustics Laboratory. The study examined the impact of aircraft noise around Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne and Richmond airports, and was used to validate the Noise Exposure Forecast (NEF) or a modified index (which became the ANEF) as a suitable metric for predicting community reaction to aircraft noise. In response to concerns regarding the currency of this 34 year old data, SACF has had discussions over many meetings about options for updating this research to ensure that the ANEF remains a valid land use planning tool. In February the meeting agreed to seek your support to undertake further scoping of that work. Initial estimates for the work suggest it would cost in the range of $500,000 to $1,000,000.

The meeting was attended by a group of concerned residents of the Blue Mountains. In response to their concerns Airservices Australia agreed to conduct a high level preliminary investigation into the issues and feasibility around potential changes to the flight path over Katoomba, and report back to a future SACF meeting.

Yours sincerely

John Alexander
16 March 2016