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SHEEP FARMER CITES RAAF ‘CEASE AND DESIST’ NOISE CLAIMING $15.3M


A sheep farmer took the RAAF to court after failing to comply with her Cease and Desist notices she had personally issued to prevent aircraft from flying over her property.


Julie Steepe claimed the RAAF owed her $15.3 million for ongoing aircraft trespasses that contravened her lawful right to live in peace and quiet.


Her land is situated some 50 kilometres northeast of Williamtown where the RAAFs base is located, and comprises of F35s, hawk, PC-9s and E-7A wedgetail aircraft.


The sheep farmer complained that the number of flights had increased from 5 to 500 per week. As well as a claim the RAAF had breached her lawful right to peace and quiet and her right to alienation from the crown.


In 2020, she issued a series of invoices to the RAAF after they had not complied with the cease and desist notices. Each breach, she claimed, incurred $167,000 penalty. This also included a notice to show cause within 7 days of a lawful authority to trespass on her property.

"The border of my property extends to the centre of the earth and to the expanse of the universe.", she said.


However, Justice David Davies dismissed the case, ruling that there was no legal right to stop planes.


"The plaintiff submitted that she has a right to 'quiet enjoyment of the land', and that is interfered with by the noise of the aircraft. Any notion of quiet enjoyment is a matter between a landlord and a tenant, either as an implied or express condition of a lease.


"The word 'quiet' in those circumstances is not concerned with noise as such, but with a right to reside on the land without interruption, interference or disturbance by the landlord or grantor of the land. The only appropriate analogy for an owner of land in fee simple is that no other person has a right to trespass upon the land or, arguably, commit a nuisance on or onto the land.


"As will be seen below, matters of trespass and nuisance as far as aircraft are concerned, have been dealt with by statute. The plaintiff has no other 'right' of quiet enjoyment."


Noise complaints from overhead aircraft have been on the rise. Brisbane airport complaints grew from 24 to 117 a month since opening its new runway. Earlier promises from the airport were made to change the flightpaths towards over the bay. Rather than across the city.


The Brisbane Airport played down the situation stating that questions and complaints were to be 'expected' given the changes.


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