To maximise and secure the Airport’s long-term contribution to the economy, community and industry, the Airport Master Plan 2010 outlined a range of strategic airside infrastructure and non-aeronautical landside developments, including upgrading runway 03/21 to Code 4C standard, the provision of a full-length parallel taxiway and the development of an Airport Business and Technology Park.
In delivering these master planning priorities, Council committed to the protection of the surrounding environment and its biodiversity values and, in close consultation with NSW Biodiversity Conservation Division, undertook to pursue a Biodiversity Certification Agreement to offset the development impact of any land clearing required. Consultations towards this agreement commenced in 2013 following the upgrade of runway 03/21, and included the ecological assessment of over 1000 hectares of surrounding land and its vegetation and habitat types, biodiversity values and criticality, as well as the calculation of ecosystem credits to offset development impacts. This detailed assessment was completed and lodged in 2016. Further investigations and negotiations continued until the agreement was approved by the NSW Minister of the Environment in 2018. The agreement reached under the NSW State Government legislation was referred to the Australian Government for assessment of the impact on any endangered species under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
The Port Macquarie Airport Biodiversity Certification Agreement is one of the first approved in the state, committing Council to enduring environmental protection actions and includes the establishment of over 470 ha of environmental conservation land.