The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association of Australia has called on the Deputy Prime Minister, The Hon Barnaby Joyce MP, to reject a proposal by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, seeking to increase the threshold for Major Development Plans from $25 to $35 million.
Under the Airports Act 1996, all leased federal airports, excluding Mount Isa and Tennant Creek, are required to develop and submit Major Development Plans (MDP) for specific types of development, if they exceed the monetary threshold amount specified in Section 89(9) of the Act. The threshold is currently set at $25 million.
The Department claims the increase is required to account for inflation and construction cost increases at airports, seeking a threshold increase to $35 million. However, it is understood that the Department has been heavily lobbied by the privatised airports community, who claim the increases are needed for their COVID-19 recovery.
“AOPA Australia firmly opposes the proposal put forward by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, and calls for its immediate withdrawal,” Benjamin Morgan, AOPA Australia CEO.
“The proposal seeks to dramatically reduce the oversight and scrutiny of developments at privatised airports, handing developers greater powers to convert airport land into non-aviation use without any government oversight or approval.
“History has shown that developers game the existing system, bypassing requirements for non-aviation development to be reviewed and approved by the Minister, by structuring projects under the current $25 million threshold. An increase to $35 million, simply opens the system up to greater manipulation by developers.
“Instead of watering down regulations to benefit property developers, the Department should be putting forward a proposal to reduce the minimum requirement, seeking to strengthen oversight of non-aviation development at privatised airports.
“Greater oversight is what is needed, not less.
“The leaseholders of Australia’s privatised airports are some of the nation’s wealthiest property development and management corporations, with asset portfolios into the many billions and operating profits that run well into the hundreds of millions.
“It’s incomprehensible that the Department is seeking to hand these corporations a development free-for-all, at the expense of hard working small to medium sized aviation businesses. I am certain my industry colleagues and every participant of our aviation industry would agree with this assessment.
“AOPA Australia has written to the Deputy Prime Minister, The Hon Barnaby Joyce MP, seeking his urgent assistance in rejecting the proposal.
“I am encouraging all aircraft owners, pilots, aviation businesses and supporters to write a letter to the Deputy Prime Minister, clearly opposing the proposal and seeking its rejection.”
Please direct your written correspondence to:
The Hon Barnaby Joyce MP
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,
Regional Development and Communications
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Canberra ACT 2600
Mr Benjamin Morgan
AOPA Australia Chief Executive
Mobile: 0415 577 724
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