29/11/2005 - 21:00

State critical of airport development

29/11/2005 - 21:00

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Frustrated at its inability to control non-aviation development on federally owned airport land, the state government has taken a swipe at the Commonwealth and, in the process, BGC’s proposed brickworks.

State critical of airport development

Frustrated at its inability to control non-aviation development on federally owned airport land, the state government has taken a swipe at the Commonwealth and, in the process, BGC’s proposed brickworks.

According to Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan, every state and territory represented at the recent Australian Transport Council meeting told of planning problems as a result of the federal government’s use of airport land for non-aviation purposes.

Often these problems arose as a result of the federal government’s failure to comply with, or even consider, state planning and environmental laws, Ms MacTiernan said.

She said a number of states talked about major traffic chaos following the development of large retail and showroom facilities on airport land. Developers’ contribution, or lack of, to infrastructure on airport land was another point of concern.

Ms MacTiernan said that the state government would shortly present a strong submission to the federal government on BGC’s proposed brickworks.

The states’ concerns seem to be falling on deaf ears, however, with the Commonwealth recently rejecting a motion from the states and territories for the Airports Act to be changed to provide for the formal referral of non-aviation developments to the relevant state planning and environmental authorities for approval.

Since signing a lease in May for 31 hectares of airport land on which to build its $75 million brickworks, BGC has been bogged down in regulatory and planning processes, which prompted chairman Len Buckeridge to claim he was being treated unfairly by the Gallop government.

In September this year, Coles Myer signed a lease to establish a $100 million regional distribution centre on a 25ha site in Perth Airport’s Kewlink East estate.

Responding to Ms MacTiernan’s criticisms, Westralia Airports Corporation CEO Graham Muir said the airport made every effort to work closely with state government agencies and to ensure development was consis-tent with other areas around the airport.

“The brickworks proposed by BGC is a good example of the extent of consultation which occurs between the airport and relevant state agencies,” Mr Muir told WA Business News. “BGC has agreed to meet all applicable state environmental standards that are relevant to the brickworks, and they were under no obligation to do this.”

Mr Muir said there were no infrastructure problems at Perth airport, and that to date there had been no requirement for the state to upgrade road infrastructure to the airport.

He said there were up to 700ha hectares of land that could be developed around the airport and that further development opportunities would be pursued.

“We see the airport as being a major centre of industrial and commercial development, and when the state endorsed the current master plan, they acknowledged that the land was ideal for transport and logistic uses,” Mr Muir said.

WA Business News reported last month that private funds manager Ascot Capital was in the final stages of negotiation to purchase Jandakot Airport for $47 million.

The buyer’s key interest is 148ha of undeveloped commercial land on the north-west portion of the 540ha airport.

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