Take off

SOUTH Gippsland’s agricultural sector could expand and rail services could be closer to returning under a proposal for a third airport for Melbourne.

The international airport could result in residential and industrial growth in South Gippsland and Bass Coast shires, and be a boon for tourism.

A Melbourne-based investment company, Paragon Premier Investment Fund, will next week start talks about its intention to fund a privately-owned airport with the State Government.

The airport will be located between Lang Lang, Koo Wee Rup and Caldermeade, and the exact site is to yet to be determined.

South Gippsland Shire Council mayor Cr Ray Argento said the proposal could create massive opportunities for the region.

“We already have a number of companies that export produce and I am sure such a proposal would enable our agriculture sector to take full advantage of such a facility and possibly generate expansion,” he said.

“If passenger services follow, South Gippsland tourism could only stand to benefit, as well as possible population growth to the east.

“Council may be forced to review all aspects of connectivity to such a proposal, as well as other areas that may be impacted.

We will be following the outcome of any decision with baited breath.”

Cr Argento welcomed the prospect of the airport giving strength to the case for the reopening of the South Gippsland railway.
“A rail link would be beneficial, particularly if congestion increases on the Monash (Freeway),” he said.

Middle Tarwin vegetable grower Schreurs and Sons said the airport plan could benefit existing export markets.

Chris Schreurs, director of business and commercial operations, said the airport would not only prove advantageous to horticulture, but also dairy and beef.

“This is a great opportunity for farmers from South Gippsland Shire, Cardinia Shire, Bass Coast Shire and the Mornington Peninsula too, as well as Casey shire,” he said.

Schreurs now exports to Asia and the Middle East via air from Tullamarine and via sea from the Port of Melbourne.

“To have an airport closer will make it much easier to export our product,” Mr Schreurs said.

Public transport advocate Max Semken, of Leongatha, said if an airport was built near Koo Wee Rup, investment in local rail services would have to increase “big time”.

He said upgrades would have to include returning the rail to Leongatha and could include the creation of a new rail system through to Wonthaggi and Inverloch.

“The need for rail is vitally important in this region,” he said.

While Paragon is hopeful the first flights could be taking off by 2020, Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne said a new airport was not needed until at least 2030.

“Melbourne Airport and Avalon Airport still have capacity to take more flights, but nevertheless we won’t make the same mistakes Sydney has made. We need to plan ahead for aviation to avoid being blindsided as Victoria grows,” he said.
Once early planning work is complete and the State Government takes advice from Infrastructure Victoria on issues of access and timing, it will be up to the Commonwealth to grant aviation approvals.

The airport is a feature of the State Government’s blueprint for population growth, Plan Melbourne 2017.

That plan states the airport is proposed for “beyond Koo Wee Rup” and this “future option” will be preserved “by incorporating planning protection for flight paths and noise contours and the alignment for a connection to the rail line at Clyde”.

A spokesperson for Victorian Industry and Employment Minister Wade Noonan said Plan Melbourne “includes the early planning works for a third airport to cater for a larger population and growing number of arrivals to Victoria”.
A private sector proposal for an airport has the backing of the Shire of Cardinia, and will not involve State Government funding or the government purchasing land.

Significant scale: the airport proposed for the Koo Wee Rup-Lang Lang will reportedly be of a similar size to Canberra Airport, but could grow to be as big as Tullamarine. Photo: Canberra Airport.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=21836

Posted by on Jul 11 2017. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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