Security gets go-ahead after Local Govt, DOTARS negotiations

02/10/2007 - 18:05

An open door for further negotiations between local governments and the Federal Department of Transport and Roads on the cost of new security measures has pleased the WA Local Government Association.

Security gets go-ahead after Local Govt, DOTARS negotiations

An open door for further negotiations between local governments and the Federal Department of Transport and Roads on the cost of new security measures has pleased the WA Local Government Association.

Regional airports are required under new security regulations to introduce new equipment to provide explosive trace detection and multi-view x-ray screening at a combined cost of up to $830,000 per airport.

Airports at Kalgoorlie, Port Hedland, Karratha, Kununurra, Exmouth and Newman were given until December 1 to upgrade screening or be forced to cancel services by commercial jet aircraft.

While that deadline still remains, WALGA president Bill Mitchell today said in an announcement that a renegotiation meant they would now be able to meet the requirements.

"Local Governments were being asked to commit to the implementation of these security screening requirements and funding arrangements without knowing the full costs involved," he said.

"They feared, once the commitment was made, they would be responsible for meeting any further funding requirements and this would place untenable pressure on their budgets.

Cr Mitchell said that the meeting had allowed Local Governments to present their concerns directly to DOTARS representatives, and negotiate an audit process to determine the costs of installation.

Funding committed to date will be retained, but Local Governments would be able to to negotiate additional funding according to the outcomes of the audits, Cr Mitchell said.

"We welcome the measured approach from the Federal Government in recognizing our concerns and agreeing to work together with Local Government to ensure they receive the time and resources needed to properly install and run security screening of this kind," he said.

 

 

The full text of a WALGA announcement is pasted below

Federal Government agreement to a realistic process for the implementation of security screening requirements has averted a potential crisis for regional airports and those industries serviced by them.

Regional airports at Kalgoorlie, Port Hedland, Karratha, Kunnunurra, Exmouth and Newman had feared they would be forced to cancel jet air services if they were unable to meet installation of requirements for checked bag screening (CBS) prior to December 1 2007 and 2008. Both Local and State Government in Western Australia expressed their concerns over the process proposed by the Federal Government.

WA Local Government Association President Cr Bill Mitchell said discussions between Local Government and the Department of Transport and Roads (DOTARS) had resulted in a renegotiation on the installation of CBS.

"Local Governments were being asked to commit to the implementation of these security screening requirements and funding arrangements without knowing the full costs involved," he said.

"They feared, once the commitment was made, they would be responsible for meeting any further funding requirements and this would place untenable pressure on their budgets.

"Local Governments involved were able to present their concerns directly to DOTARS representatives and negotiate an audit process for each airport in order to establish the actual costs of installing CBS into their airports along with the cost to staff and maintain the equipment."

26 regional airports across Australia servicing jet aircraft are required to establish hand-held explosive trace detection equipment prior to December 1 this year, and larger multi view x-ray screening machines prior to December 1 2008. Many regional airports anticipate substantial infrastructure projects will be required to accommodate the x-ray machines.

Funding committed to date will be retained; however, Local Governments will have the foundation to negotiate additional funding according to the outcomes of the audits. Cr Mitchell welcomed the revised process, saying it would ensure the costs and infrastructure impacts unique to each airport would be considered.

"Local Government has made a commitment to good governance; now Councils will be able to make a decision based on the full knowledge of costs and community impacts involved before consigning finances and resources to potentially large infrastructure projects," Cr Mitchell said.

"We welcome the measured approach from the Federal Government in recognizing our concerns and agreeing to work together with Local Government to ensure they receive the time and resources needed to properly install and run security screening of this kind."

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options