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Nod for 2000 Tralee homes


John Thistleton

Tralee plan.

Tralee plan.

Two thousand new homes with strict aircraft noise-abating features will be built south of Queanbeyan with the NSW government announcing today it will approve the controversial Tralee housing development.

The rezoning near the Canberra Airport flight path has sparked cheers and uproar. The federal and ACT governments oppose the project, and the airport says it represents a backflip from NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell's government.

Village Building Company managing director Bob Winnel said Queanbeyan had been starved of affordable housing and the decision meant young families could get into the housing market.

Chief executive of the Village Building Company, Bob Winnel, looks over south Tralee.

Chief executive of the Village Building Company, Bob Winnel, looks over south Tralee. Photo: Melissa Adams

''The rezoning of Tralee will restore jobs, growth and opportunity to the families and businesses of Jerrabomberra and Queanbeyan,'' Mr Winnel said.

But Canberra Airport is fiercely opposed to the rezoning, adamant complaints about aircraft noise will stymie development of the hub.

Airport managing director Stephen Byron - who suggested the Melbourne Cup day timing of the announcement was a cynical move - said the decision would be an albatross around the government's neck.

File photo ... An aeroplane flies over the site of the proposed Tralee development.

File photo ... An aeroplane flies over the site of the proposed Tralee development. Photo: Karleen Minney

''They said they would clean up NSW, but this is a decision that mimics their predecessors, in fact it is the decision the previous government wanted to make, but the opposition opposed it. What's changed?'' Mr Byron said.

The approval leaves the NSW government's plans for Canberra to host Sydney's second airport alternative in tatters.

Mr O'Farrell has repeatedly rebuked calls for a second airport in Sydney and has said the expansion of Canberra Airport, accompanied by a very fast train, was his preferred option.

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But NSW Planning Minister Brad Hazzard is touting the South Tralee approval as a ''win-win'' solution, saying rezoning would not stop Canberra Airport's growth or loss of its 24-hour, curfew-free passenger and freight hub.

Tralee's potential development footprint, which included a new town centre, had been reduced by about 20 per cent to restrict housing to low-noise areas.

''Any future housing development in South Tralee will be well outside the potential aircraft noise contours known as Australian Noise Exposure Forecasts set by the federal government,'' he said.

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''Housing is normally allowed up to 25ANEF around Australian airports.''

Other measures stipulated for the project include:

■ All new houses to be insulated against aircraft noise (a requirement exceeding NSW planning law and the relevant Australian Standard).

■ Queanbeyan Council must notify all new South Tralee residents of the potential for aircraft noise and activity in the area.

■ Recreational activities will be provided in an open space buffer zone, between the new development and adjoining industrial area.

ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher fears Tralee will hinder plans to transform the airport into a regional transport hub.

''Whilst it may fix a shorter-term issue around development on the [ACT-NSW] border, I think the longer-term impacts will be regretted,'' Ms Gallagher said.

Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said Mr O'Farrell had undermined his own support for Canberra alleviating the need for a second Sydney airport. ''It defies common sense that he's killed off his own idea, however absurd it might have been in the first place,'' he said. ''The federal government remains opposed to putting new greenfield housing developments under busy flight paths.''

But Mr Hazzard said, ''we need this rezoning to allow more homes to be built''.

''Currently the median house price in Queanbeyan has reached around $580,000 - the same as Sydney - while average rents are around $460 per week,'' he said.

He rejected Mr Byron's claims that in opposition he had railed against the project, along with Mr O'Farrell, and said he was neither for or against it at that stage.

Releasing copies of Hansard which record Mr Hazzard's accusation of the Labor Party accepting a $164,000 donation from Village Building Company, Mr Byron said that when in opposition Mr Hazzard had joined Mr O'Farrell and Andrew Stoner railing again the Tralee rezoning. ''They thought it was a scandal that a development tainted by political donations should be approved.''

Monaro MP John Barilaro also welcomed the decision. ''Clearly there is a housing supply problem,'' he said.

The Urban Development Institute of Australia NSW is also behind the rezoning. Chief executive Stephen Albin said that Queanbeyan's housing affordability problem was the perfect example of a wider phenomenon in NSW.

40 comments so far

  • What a joke building houses under a flight path it just comes down to the builder and Queanbeyan Council greed. I want the region to have an international airport when and if I can afford an overseas holiday I won’t have to travel to Sydney.

    Bad move
    Date and time
    November 06, 2012, 8:24AM
    • Do we really have to get the crayons and butchers' paper out for some people, or are they just stirring trolls? Tralee is not nor ever has been under or proximal to the flight path. This has always been Steve Byron spin. The Tralee rezoning complies with all of the relevant planning instruments including the 1998 ACT sub region planning strategy, the N.S.W Government’s Canberra-Sydney Corridor strategy and the Queanbeyan City Council’s planning strategy. Queanbeyan City Council’s Residential & Economic Strategy 2031 planning strategy which included Tralee was endorsed by the N.S.W Government in 2007. The N.S.W Government and Queanbeyan City Council’s planning process for the South Tralee rezoning was endorsed in a judgment of the N.S.W Land and Environment Court on 20 May 2011 and South Tralee complies with all the existing stringent National noise standards for housing development around Airports (AS 2021). To say that Tralee interferes with the intention to have Canberra become an international airport is utterly fanciful. Canberra Airport will never become a major international entry point. It would be great to see occasional flights to or from NZ, but there will never be the demand to take any significant number of flights away from Tullamarine or Mascot.

      Additionally, Mayor of the ACT Gallagher's hypocrisy is palpable. On one hand she deplores this decision, yet on the other she bemoans that ACT resources are being expended on NSW residents in their children attending ACT schools. Yet Tralee will bring a school and more facilities to NSW taking the pressure off the ACT. You cannot have your cake and eat it too, Katy!

      Canbera region
      Date and time
      November 06, 2012, 8:58AM
    • Liberte, you are totally and absolutely wrong. Tralee is within 2kms of the flight path. Canberra airport has indicated that there will be seventy decibels of noise within a 4 km radius of the airport. The only people who think this is a good decision are vested interests. Seven separate inquiries have all said that this development should not go ahead. Instead of insulting people with a sensible viewpoint and the only one which makes sense, check your facts. This decision is a total disgrace.

      Barney Boeing
      Date and time
      November 06, 2012, 11:29AM
  • In 10 years time they'll be calling for the closure of the airport.

    Wing Nut
    Date and time
    November 06, 2012, 8:24AM
    • So now we'll have more congestion as people want to enter or leave Qbn. The Monaro is a crawl at the best of times, now it could become ever more so.

      Will this development be the catalyst for the Qbn bypass?

      Is Qbn that hard pressed for space to develop new housing?

      Date and time
      November 06, 2012, 8:26AM
      • At last a sensible decision. Canberra Airport has hoodwinked the reading public for 10 years by making false claims about aircraft noise in Tralee and creating absurd noise maps in support of their commercial aspirations. They have sought to change proven planning guidelines around airports which have served the industry for many many years to their advantge. Finally the NSW Government and to their credit has said, enough is enough let's cut the crap and approve this development which they should have done 5 years ago. The argument around Tralee had nothing to do with aircraft noise it was all to do the Airport's desire to wield power when they had no right to do so. Aircraft movements at Canberra have been falling for the last 10 years!!

        Date and time
        November 06, 2012, 8:31AM
        • So your going to be one of the 2000 people planning to live under the flight path?

          Date and time
          November 06, 2012, 8:50AM
        • Sounds to me gazzach you have an invested interest in Tralee

          Bad move
          Date and time
          November 06, 2012, 8:54AM
        • Gazzach, May I remind you that in 2002 Air Services Australia said in a letter to the Queanbeyan City Council, "Air Services Australia has ample experience from delaing with communities Australia-wide to know that aircraft noise is very likely to become a major issue for potential future residents of Tralee should the proposal go ahead." The Independent Review Panel, Queanbeyan Land Release Inquiry reported, "The Tralee site SHOULD NOT be considered for residential development..." The Aviation White Paper sais, "The Green Paper articulated the Australian Government's view that there are a range of activities that are likely to be incompatible with the long term operation of an airport. These include long term residential development." So Gazzach, who has been hoodwinking who?

          Another Grumpyoldfart
          Date and time
          November 06, 2012, 9:24AM
        • So you think it's all a big con job?

          Answer me this then:

          If the airport didn't think aircraft noise would be an issue for this development, why else would they care?

          Date and time
          November 06, 2012, 9:43AM

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