Despite significant urban renewal plans in the Docklands area of Melbourne, including an $18 million commitment from Places Victoria to turn the site into a sporting hub, Planning Minister Matthew Guy has rejected the idea for a new airport on the site.
It is expected that by 2025 there will be 25,000 people living in Melbourne's Docklands, and a further 60,000 people working there. The area is already headquarters for a number of major companies, including the ANZ, NAB and a host of media companies including Channel Seven, Channel Nine and Fairfax.
A parliamentary committee has released a report suggesting the State Government consider the construction of an airport in this rapidly growing precinct based on several European cities, including the London City airport.
Guy, however, has firmly rejected the idea.
“I don’t think an airport is coming anywhere to Docklands fairly soon. Unless someone can avail me of 2.2 kilometres of land for a runway, I don’t think that’s nearby,” he said.
The best place for Melbourne’s third airport, Guy suggested, was on the edge of the city. This proposal is part of the Government’s Metro Planning Strategy draft.
This would have significant benefits for the city, the Planning Minister explained.
“We have a reverse commute, encouraging people to – and major infrastructure to – move out of the city area, such as the Port of Hastings," he said. "This is important for the sustainability of our city. And that is why this Government has made sure that major infrastructure such as that is at the edge of the city to, indeed, of course, bring jobs to our outer suburbs as well.”
Premier Dennis Napthine also poured water on the idea.
“Let me make it very clear: that recommendation is going nowhere," he said. “We already have at Essendon airfield a significant airport very close to the CBD. About eight kilometres from the CBD, this is closer than the so-called CBD Airport they’re talking about in London, and complements Tullamarine, Avalon, and our proposed third airport in the south eastern suburbs.”
Docklands Community Association president Roger Gardner said a lack of land is just one of the issues with the proposal, pointing out that creating a facility from which aircraft could take off would be virtually impossible.