We need to look at the way aircraft noise complaints are fobbed off.
That complaints about aircraft noise are simply recorded by Airservices Australia and not investigated came to light through a review of complaints handling by the Aircraft Noise Ombudsman, Ron Brent.
It was an achievement of the Australian Mayoral Aviation Council (AMAC), which I Chair that the Australian Government appointed an Aircraft Noise Ombudsman.
On a number of occasions at AMAC conferences I informed delegates representing local government across Australia with airports within their boundaries that the appointment of a suitably empowered and independent noise ombudsman was a consistent and a long-term goal of the organization.
The system of managing legitimate aircraft noise complaints has, to date, been seriously flawed while a robust system for taking action against unconscionable beaches of regulations and operating procedures has been all but non-existent.
I’ve said that on a number of occasions and the review of complaints handling undertaken by Mr Brent and released recently supports unreservedly my position.
I have had no doubts of Mr. Brent’s experience and aptitude in his challenging role but he needed to change the mindset and lack of accountability that has been the hallmark of our aviation industry over decades. Mr Brent needed to break down entrenched practices and build a practical working relationship between the aviation industry and the community.
The report of his review shows he has met our expectations.
Rather than just recording complaints, what Mr Brent has recommended is a “solution-driven approach to aircraft noise complaints …”.
What he means is a new approach by Airservices Australia.
Instead of just logging complaints, he is suggesting that Airservices actually investigate those complaints.
To me that seems not only logical but displaying admirable common sense.
In his recommendations, Mr Brent suggests that Airservices seize opportunities to improve noise outcomes for those impacted by aircraft noise almost every hour of every day.
All we need now to see is adoption of Mr Brent’s recommendations by Airservices.