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Secure airspace and land for an international airport in south east Melbourne

The Committee for Greater Frankston is an apolitical, independently funded group of citizens and business people advocating to all levels of government for the Greater Frankston region.

We wish to place on record our support of a commercial airport in Melbourne’s southeast, which would be Victoria’s third airport after Melbourne Airport and Avalon Airport.

An airport in the southeast is a key element of Plan Melbourne 2017-2050, the current Victorian Government’s metropolitan planning strategy that aims to manage growth in the city and its surrounding suburbs to the year 2050. The airport was first included in the Liberal-National Coalition state government’s Metropolitan Planning Strategy (Plan Melbourne) issued in May 2014 so has bipartisan support.

We believe that key points to consider at this stage include:

  1. 1The airport would serve one-third of Victoria’s population living in Melbourne’s southeast and Gippsland.
  2. Initially, it would ideally provide flights to and from Sydney, Brisbane and Perth as well as major international hubs.
  3. When fully operational, it would generate $17.6 billion in economic benefit, provide thousands of jobs during construction, and create 7,170 ongoing jobs.
  4. It would allow people to access an airport without having to travel through Melbourne’s CBD and then to Melbourne Airport.
  5. It would improve access to airfreight for southeast businesses, which produce 44 per cent of Victoria’s manufactured products, and export goods worth $16 billion each year.
  6. The airport would improve access to the region’s growing tourism industry.
  7. The third airport should be 30-45 minutes by arterial road from Frankston and Dandenong’s CBD.

We are asking the Victorian and Commonwealth governments to form a bipartisan working group to start the first steps in planning for the airport. The scope of this work should include identifying the airport’s preferred location and reserving land for the airport, access roads, ancillary infrastructure, flight paths, etc.

Further detail:

1 An airport in the southeast of Melbourne would serve one-third of Victoria’s population of 6.26 million, more than 2 million people, including the Gippsland region with almost 300,000 people.
Frankston and Mornington Peninsula municipalities have a combined population of 300,000. Neighbouring municipalities that would potentially use a southeast airport include Monash (population 196,000), Kingston (162,000), Greater Dandenong (170,000), Casey (333,000) and Cardinia (106,000). The total population of these seven municipalities is 1,267,000. (In comparison, Adelaide has a population of 1,334,000 and Canberra 406,000. Both have commercial airports.)

2 An easily accessible commercial airport would allow the region to reach its potential and connect our rapidly growing population to other national and international job markets. Initially, the airport should provide domestic flights to and from Sydney, Western Sydney Airport (due to open 2026), Brisbane and Perth including connecting to international flights leaving those airports bound for major hubs such as Singapore, Hong Kong and China and others.

3 The South East Melbourne Group of Councils (SEM) estimates that a fully operational southeast airport would result in $17.6 billion in wider economic benefits. It would provide thousands of jobs during construction, create 7,170 ongoing jobs, and create significant opportunities for workers and businesses in the southeast. (SEM consists of the municipalities of Monash, Kingston, Greater Dandenong, Casey, Cardinia, Frankston, and Mornington Peninsula.) Grattan Institute research (2014) into labour productivity mapping showed that a commercial airport at Cardinia would boost worker productivity in this municipality by more than 40%.

4 Access to Melbourne Airport from the east, southeast, Frankston/Mornington Peninsula region and Gippsland is becoming increasingly difficult due to congestion on the M1 road corridor’s eastern section (Monash Freeway) as well as lack of alternative routes.

5 Melbourne’s southeast and Gippsland would benefit from improved trade connections. Airfreight exports are increasingly becoming an important part of the Victorian economy and airports play a key role in supporting growth industries and associated jobs growth.
Southeast Melbourne is one of Australia’s most dynamic manufacturing regions. It generates 44 per cent of Victoria’s manufactured products, and is home to more than 300 companies exporting $16 billion worth of goods each year. Industry provides 17 per cent of southeast Melbourne’s 549,000 jobs. Regional manufacturing capabilities include: agriculture, automotive, building and construction, chemical, defence, electronics, food, health, IT, machinery and equipment, marine, medical, mining, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, plastics, textiles and transportation.

6 A southeast airport would provide access to the region’s growing tourism industry including headline attractions such as Phillip Island Nature Park (world-famous penguin parade); Phillip Island Wildlife Park (koalas, kangaroos, emus, etc); Mornington Peninsula and Gippsland wine regions as well as fishing, sailing and water sport destination on Port Phillip and Western Port; and dozens of national parks and state parks.

7 The Committee for Greater Frankston advocates for a third airport to be close to Frankston, that is, about 30 minutes’ drive under normal conditions from Frankston’s CBD. Two sites being suggested by the Shire of Cardinia – both between the towns of Koo Wee Rup and Lang Lang – are 25 and 35 minutes from Frankston respectively with an upgraded C 781 Baxter–Tooradin Road arterial.
Similar access routes should be identified from Dandenong CBD.

While recognising that a third airport is a longer-term infrastructure project, we ask that the Victorian and Commonwealth governments take the necessary steps in the next 12 months to secure this facility for the future.
First steps should include identifying the preferred location for the third airport and introducing suitable planning overlays to preserve land for the airport site, flight paths, and noise contours. Ideally, the preferred site should be close to a rail corridor and an existing highway or freeway, with close access to the region’s key business activity centres such as Frankston and Dandenong.