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OMBUDSMAN INVESTIGATION UNDERWAY



On 11 October 2019 Airservices Australia (ASA) released a statement to the public that the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) had received a Danger Area application for Yandina Creek Quarry on 26 August 2014, that they had reviewed the application and decided that no Danger Area was required.

FPF obtained, under Freedom of Information, CASA’s deliberations on the ‘Danger Area’ application.

CASA determined that flyrock would not reach above ground level and that any risk to aviation safety could be managed through a blast management protocol, including posting a sentry on top of a hill to look out for aircraft.

CASA later confirmed that they did not have a Danger Area application on file. FPF discovered an informal email trail between CASA and Aviation experts acting for Sunshine Coast Council in the quarry development appeal case in the Planning and Environment Court (2013). This showed consideration of the quarry at that time centred on operations from the old 18/36 runway and any potential risks to smaller general aviation aircraft or helicopters flying to the north of the airport.

Evidence presented by blasting experts in the court case showed that flyrock from blasting had the potential to reach heights that could hit passenger jet aircraft on approach over the quarry.

As a suitable mitigation measure, it was suggested by CASA that a symbol be placed on an aviation map to inform pilots flying under Visual Flight Rules of the location of the quarry, so they would know to avoid flying over it.

Large passenger jet aircraft operations from the new 13/31 runway were not considered at that time and the Planning and Environment court approved the development application on two conditions:

  • that an aeronautical study, involving CASA be undertaken

  • that a Blast Management Protocol be agreed between the quarry and the airport.

These conditions for an aeronautical study and Blast Management Protocol are still outstanding.

The quarry is not yet operational, however the development application has been approved and development will go ahead at some time in the future.



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