$50m class action bid over runway noise
A CLASS action claim of potentially $40 million to $50 million may be pursued in the wake of location and orientation changes to the new Sunshine Coast Airport runway.
Mudjimba Residents Association president Martin Peelgrane said as many as 462 homes would be impacted by noise levels and required retrofitting at an average cost between $100,000 and $120,000.
He said AS2021 construction standards relating to aircraft noise were now being imposed on new buildings in Mudjimba also adding significant cost to renovations and granny flats.
Mr Peelgrane said some discussions had already been held with litigation lawyers.
"The orientation and alignment both shifted," he said. "It pushed Australian Noise Exposure Forecast noise contours into Mudjimba.
"There will be a need to look at each individual house to determine impact. It's a mammoth task."
Mr Peelgrane said it would be difficult for recent purchasers of homes in the village to take action under any claim given the new alignment and position was now known.
It would be less so for those who already lived in Mudjimba at the time those changes were made.
Any court action would have to wait until after the new runway began operating.
He said already people in North Beach, closest to the airport, were selling up and moving out.
Mr Peelgrane said public documents all showed the north-south runway remaining in place, when after the release of the Airport Master Plan it was now clear it wouldn't be.
The Aircraft Noise Ombudsman announced earlier this month she had launched a review of multiple complaints into the way Airservices Australia handled consultation and the provision of information in relation to new flight path designs for the Sunshine Coast Airport's new runway.
Ombudsman Narelle Bell said she anticipated her review would lead to a report to the board that included recommendations.
Ms Bell has written to all complainants warning that her investigations may take some time.
The review would consider the appropriateness or otherwise of consideration given by Airservices to potential noise impacts in the design of the proposed flight paths; the quality and effectiveness of its community consultation; information provided the public; its response to complaints raised with it about the proposed changes and its community consultation and its provision of information.
The review will also examine any action Airservices has taken or planned to take in response to the aircraft noise issues associated with the proposed changes.
The ombudsman's review and threat of a class action comes as the runway construction site stands all but idle after civil subcontractors were told six weeks ago to shut down and remove machinery because the ground had become bogged.
More than 180 megalitres of bunded groundwater was contained on the site, unable to be released without treatment to 99 per cent species protection levels because of the presence of PFAS chemicals that were used at the airport from 2004 to 2010.
The concentration levels in the water were low and above drinking water standard but would be required to be at least 300 times better to meet the rigorous National PFAS Environmental Plan default standards.
Sunshine Coast Council was required under the conditions of its Environmental Authority to implement a management plan.
A Department of Environment and Science spokesperson said it had required Sunshine Coast Regional Council to develop a PFAS Investigation Report by a suitably qualified person and based on these findings implement a plan to manage the site's PFAS.
"While the department is not required to give approval on the council's plan, it was asked by council to provide feedback," the spokesperson said.
"In order to comply with the Environmental Protection Act 1994, the department needs to be satisfied that the council is meeting the requirements of the PFAS National Environmental Management Plan."