Sunday, August 30, 2009

Canberra Airport to be 24 hour Freight Hub

Controversy Surrounds Night Time Cargo Flights
Shipping News Feature

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA – The plans to open Canberra airport to all night flights and to expand over a twenty year period have met with a mixed reception after receiving the seal of approval from the Federal Transport Ministry. The proposals envisage an increase in employment of 17,000 new jobs over the next twenty years.

In the short term a survey has been commissioned to study the possible impact of traffic increases and noise levels on the local community. Federal Transport Minister Mr Anthony Albanese said in a statement, ''The 2009 master plan is a significant improvement over the plan I rejected last year. At present, Canberra Airport already has night-time freight services, and the proposed increase is expected to deliver greater economic benefits for the Canberra region.''

The ACT Greens, whose support was essential in keeping the incumbent Labour Party in power in Australian Capital Territory elections last year after they lost their majority, are incensed by the decision. They claim people have been mislead by Labour Chief Minister Jonathan Stanhope who, they say, promised a full assessment of the plans yet has only considered economic factors not the environmental or social repercussions.

Local protestors see the proposals as simply using Canberra as a “noise dump” for Sydney. Supporters say Sydney airport is already reaching capacity in terms of flight arrivals and departures.