Speeches

14
Dec

Cobden Airport

Speeches

MR RICH-PHILLIPS (South Eastern Metropolitan) (10:16:34) — I raise the plight of the Cobden community in south-west Victoria, which faces the loss of its local airport due to an ill-considered wind farm proposal. Cobden is a small community of 1300 people 200 kilometres south-west of Melbourne. Cobden is a strong community, which over many years has raised funds to support the establishment and development of its local airport. In 2012 the Cobden community raised more than $60 000 through local sausage sizzles and other fundraising activities to fund the sealing of the Cobden Airport runway. On becoming aware of this tremendous effort the Liberal-National coalition government was able to provide $200 000 from the Regional Aviation Fund to finish the project.

Despite no support from the current Labor government, the Cobden community is now once again fundraising to build a new terminal building. The Cobden Airport supports emergency services access, fire suppression, agricultural operations and tourism access to the Great Ocean Road as well as business access to the Cobden township. All of this is now at risk from the Naroghid wind farm, which proposes 12 1300-foot-high towers approximately 1.4 nautical miles off the northern threshold of the Cobden runway. The construction of those towers will effectively close the airport for night operations and many day operations, such as air ambulance. The opportunities to build wind farm towers are many, and they do not need to be directly in line with airport flight paths. Local airports are rare and largely irreplaceable pieces of infrastructure, and it is critical that their ongoing operation is protected.
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