QUEANBEYAN residents have waited a decade for a decision on the future of Tralee, and finally the land has been rezoned for residential development after NSW planning minister Brad Hazzard approved it earlier this week.
The decision paves the way for 2000 new homes to be built in a suburb just south of Jerrabomberra and immediately adjacent to Canberra flight corridors.
It will also feature community infrastructure including a new, non-government high school, playing fields and sporting facilities, an aquatic centre and a licensed community club.
Local member John Barilaro campaigned within his own government to gain rezoning approval for Tralee, and said on Tuesday it was a 'win-win' for both Queanbeyan and the expansion plans of Canberra Airport.
"Tralee will deliver a huge economic boost to Queanbeyan and Jerrabomberra, and have a considerable impact on housing affordability in the region," Mr Barilaro said.
"What Minister Hazzard has done is to be very cautious and careful. The decision he's made has come within the first 17-months of this NSW Liberal-National Government."
However the Canberra Airport remains strongly opposed to the development and managing director Stephen Byron said this week it was only a matter of time until future residents of Tralee would be advocating for a curfew on Canberra Airport's 24-hour license, curbing the future expansion of the airport as well as putting a brake on the Canberra economy.
Federal infrastructure minister Anthony Albanese also criticised the decision and said on ABC Radio this week that it would halt the development of Canberra Airport.
"There are other options for housing development. I'm certainly not opposed to an expansion of housing, but let's not put housing under flight paths," he said.
The NSW planning minister responded to concerns about aircraft noise at Tralee by reducing the overall scale of the development by around 20 per cent, and limited the areas where homes can be built to the quietest parts of the suburb.
Tralee homes will be built outside a Australian Noise Exposure Forecasts (ANEF) rating of 20, which is a stricter guideline than the national standard of 25ANEF.
"Any future housing development in South Tralee will be well outside the potential aircraft noise contours known as Australian Noise Exposure Forecasts (ANEF) set by the Federal Government," Minister Hazzard said.
"Housing is normally allowed up to 25ANEF around Australian airports.
"This approach will allow Canberra Airport to pursue ongoing development with capacity to expand up to five times its current size and have as many aircraft movements as Sydney Airport had in 2010," he said.
South Tralee houses will also be required to include additional noise insulation beyond Australian building standards.
As an additional precaution, Queanbeyan City Council will notify all new South Tralee residents of the potential for aircraft noise and activity in the area on the statutory planning documents associated with their property purchase known as Section 149 Certificates.
Village Building Company managing director Bob Winell said the new suburb would add some much needed affordable housing to the region, and would particularly benefit first home buyers.
"Canberra's had the jump on them [Queanbeyan residents] in affordability, and Queanbeyan has been starved of land. It's good that has now been rectified," Mr Winnel said.
"The predominance of it will be homes under $400,000, but on some of the steeper land there will be larger homes and dearer land ... but the predominance of it will address the needs of first home buyers," he said.
Discussions will now commence between Queanbeyan City Council and the ACT Government on cross-border access roads and infrastructure for South Tralee, and Mr Winnel said he expected construction crews to move on to the site this time next year, with the first residents moving in some eight months after that.