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Goulburn Airport Sale Folds??


Goulburn Airport is an example of what Council’s can do to your airport.

  • Lack of full consultation;
  • Failure to listen to the community;
  • Fail to meet community needs
  • Transfer of a community asset to “operational land’s” then sell the community asset

The airport now is a white elephant, operated on a lease by a person who does not listen to the community and is charging very high prices for access.

The current issue is problems due to the parachute operation at the airport, which has had poor to mixed support since it was proposed in the 1990’s, with issues similar to the current raised between that time and 2013

Complaints up in air Goulburn Post

and from the Goulburn Post:

Airport revolt By LOUISE THROWER

THE purchaser of Goulburn airport is facing a revolt over new fees and charges outlined to users and property owners at a meeting on Monday.

Many who expect new bills of up to $36,000 just to access the taxiways and runway are refusing to pay the charges, which come into effect from October 1.

“I’ve been here 20 years and I’ve always paid my fees,” aircraft engineer and hangar owner Bernie Quigley said.

“This has made it uneconomical for anyone to remain at the airport. It’s just untenable.”

He’s facing a $24,435 annual access fee and $3200 for sewer connection and availability. Long-time user Tony Lamarra, estimating a $36,000 yearly bill, has accused the council of abrogating its legal responsibility to provide “fair and equitable access” and predicted court action.

Another user of 50 years, Dick Nell told the Post that while he’d always paid his rates to Council he “wouldn’t be paying another set to John Ferrara”.

The council exchanged contracts with Mr Ferrara on the $2.5 million airport sale last month, with settlement to take place in two years or less if required improvements are undertaken. The terms were a $250,000 non-refundable deposit and $500 annual lease fee.

But Monday’s meeting with some 25 users and property owners heard the higher fees were necessary to fund a host of improvements and Mr Ferrara’s “rent” to Council. Another airport user, John ten Have chaired the meeting at Mr Ferrara’s request.

“The access to taxiway/runway is a new charge and the reason it’s there is to fund the cost of running the airport,” he said.

“In the past Goulburn Mulwaree ratepayers have picked up the cost and the reason the council is selling the airport is that they’re no longer willing to pick this up.” The access fee will be $6.64 per square metre of property owned by the user, per annum.

Coupled with a $19.40 AVDATA exemption fee of $484 per aircraft tonne/annum, which also pays for access, some users felt it was “double dipping.”

Yet Mr ten Have outlined a long list of improvements from weed and pest control to landscaping, tie down facilities, a weather information service, airport terminal, a flying school, skydiving centre, solar and wind energy turbine and more. Under the sale terms, Mr Ferrara’s motel, under construction for some 12 years, must be completed in eight months.

“The aim of the purchase is to make the airport a better place,” Mr ten Have said.

“…There’s no reason it can’t be another Camden (in terms of greening) and that will happen. At the moment it’s a windswept desert.”

While all other fees, including landing charges ($19.40/tonne) will remain the same, the new owner will charge for sewer availability and connection. The charges are in line with previous council levies for the stand alone system.

Mr Ferrara told the meeting the regime would recoup his $250,000 deposit, plus five per cent profit. Asked by the Goulburn Post whether he intended following through with the sale, he said he wouldn’t have commenced the purchase otherwise.

Mr ten Have’s chairmanship and use of the term ‘we’ throughout the meeting prompted questions from Corporate Air representatives about his involvement.

“I’m a landowner and chair of the meeting,” he replied.

He later told the Post he had funded with Mr Ferrara some solar and greening initiatives at the facility but had no further financial interest. Mr Quigley asked during the meeting what would happen when landowners refused to pay the new fees.

“I’ll take that as a rhetorical question,” Mr ten Have replied.

“It’s not a rhetorical question, it’s fact,” Mr Quigley said.

His son Brenttyn, who runs an aircraft maintenance business and lives at the airport, is facing a $14,000 to $15,000 annual fee for runway and taxiway access on top of $1300 in council rates.

“I turn over less than $80,000 a year and I can’t afford that. I feel a lot of people will leave,” he said. Mr Ferrara doesn’t think so, describing the fees as minimal and saying they’d be two or three times as much under a different owner. He intended to keep them at this level to draw more businesses and users.

From the Goulburn Post: on 12th September 2013


Airport sale flies back on Council agenda

SOLICITORS for Goulburn Airport lessee John Ferrara have told Council he would press ahead with purchase of the facility.

They exercised the option to buy the Windellama Rd facility just hours ahead of Monday’s 5pm deadline, Council general manager Chris Berry confirmed. It followed Council’s refusal last week to grant a 12-month time extension on the option. Mr Ferrara now has 42 days to settle the $2.5 million sale.

The development comes despite Mr Ferrara’s statement to the Post on Friday that he was not going ahead with the sale because he couldn’t raise the funds.

Asked what had changed between then and Monday, Mr Ferrara said: “On Friday I had the s…ts.”

He’s also conceded he was still trying to secure finance for the sale.

“I don’t have the finance approved now but I will by the 14th October (settlement date),” Mr Ferrara said.

“It’s not that I can’t get the money, I just want it at the right rate and that’s why I asked for the extension.”

He maintained a local bank had taken four to five months to assess his application and then refused finance.

Mr Berry said he was surprised by the last minute notice; Council had already “pencilled in” plans to revise the budget, factoring in resumption of airport management.

“We were generally surprised because Mr Ferrara had indicated at a briefing session (in August) that at least one bank had refused financing arrangements.

We then asked him to put his concerns in writing,” Mr Berry said.

Soon after, Mr Ferrara requested the time extension, which councillors subsequently refused. They said he’d had enough time (two years under the contract) to raise the capital and complete an agreed schedule of works.

Mr Berry said Mr Ferrara was disappointed by councillors’ decision. Council itself could not see how he could “raise the cash” between Friday and Monday, he told the Post.

The general manager said Mr Ferrara still had some work to complete by the time of settlement.

“They are minor in the scheme of things but the big ticket items have been largely completed,” he said.

Airport users disagree, saying the requested new terminal, which Mr Ferrara has put inside his motel, does not meet the minimum 200 square metre requirement. They have also pointed to incomplete landscaping, street lighting that doesn’t work and outstanding work on the motel to meet Building Code of Australia regulations.

Mr Berry said while there would be arguments on how well these works had been done, Mr Ferrara had complied with the DA.

He believed the community had come out ahead on the deal.

“The price paid ($2.5 million) is higher than the airport’s value at the time and the $500 annual lease fee had to be weighed up against the $250,000 he (Mr Ferrara) paid as a deposit. We felt it was more than ample,” Mr Berry said.

He pointed out Council hadn’t put any resources into the airport for the past two years. In addition, Mr Ferrara could now develop the facility as a business and make it his sole focus. By contrast, Council had to balance its operation with many other responsibilities and had attracted criticism for devoting too little attention to its management.

Mr Berry believed, that like Canberra Airport, private operators were better placed to develop airports.

“He will be looking to run it as a business and make a profit and Council was never able to do that,” he said.

“…We tried to cover expenses from income but there was never enough in the fee structure for depreciation or improvements.”

Some users have refused to pay Mr Ferrara’s schedule of fees, imposed when he took up the lease.

He told the Post he’d be now “kicking arse,” issuing new bills to users and taking legal action if they didn’t pay.

Mr Ferrara maintained the number of landings had “doubled” at the airport since he took over. Moreover, he’d be buying a new plane to increase skydiving jumps and “put the airport on the map.”

“Now everything will be different. I’ll do a costing and upgrade the airport,” he said.


28th August 2013:

The following is a closed thread about the GFTC


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Old 11th Nov 2011, 22:39   #1 (permalink)
Probationary PPRuNer
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Stockholm
Age: 27
Posts: 3
Smile Goulburn Flight Training Centre

Does anyone know if Goulburn Flight Training Centre in Australia is a good school? and how much flying activity there is at that school?Would be very thankfull for tips and information about this school!
hlamberg is offline Report Post
Old 16th Nov 2011, 08:56   #2 (permalink)
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Oz
Posts: 4
Hello Hlamberg,Yes, GFTC is a good school. I just completed my instructor rating there and found the instructors very good and friendly.
It is a small school that has just started out. Because they are small the instructors have time to brief you and you get individual attention.
They have new accommodation at the airfield which makes it easy to concentrate on learning.Also, because the training area is right by the airport, you don’t waste time and money flying to a specific area, which is the case in Sydney, Melbourne and most capital city GA airports.I wasted a lot of time and money at other schools in Australia, and only wish I had started with GFTC sooner in my career.Good Luckblueyonder10

BlueYonder10 is offline Report Post
Old 16th Nov 2011, 12:36   #3 (permalink)
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Sydney
Posts: 12
If you’re looking for training other than Instructor Ratings I’d be inclined to wander next door to Goulburn Aviation. They’ve been operating in the Goulburn area since 1993 and the Instructors have a lot more experience under their belt. There seems to be a bit of a revolving door at GFTC – a past instructor tells me they’ve been through about 6 instructors in the past six months. Goulburn Aviation’s training rates also appear to be quite a bit cheaper (and they use a Warrior instead of a 150). Goulburn Aviation also run the BBQ’s on the first Saturday of each month as they’re passionate about the social side of Flying also.If you’re looking to get an Instructor rating my personal opinion would be to go with an established and well-regarded school. All these things add up on the resume over time.Best of luck with the decision-making.
pokeydokey is online now Report Post
Old 16th Nov 2011, 18:06   #4 (permalink)
Probationary PPRuNer
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Stockholm
Age: 27
Posts: 3
Thank you both for your answers!
I am interested of getting a Instructor Rating at Goulburn Flight Training Centre because they garantee employment for 12 month. Do you know approximately how many flight hours a flight instructor gets at GFTC monthly?
hlamberg is offline Report Post
Old 16th Nov 2011, 19:02   #5 (permalink)
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Oz
Posts: 4
Initially I didn’t get many hours. However, it did pick up after the first few weeks. And after 2 1/2 months I moved back to Adelaide with 100 instructional hours to work for a sausage factory. I quite enjoyed my time at GFTC and am glad I worked there first. Even though initially the hours don’t clock up super fast, you do get valubale experience that opens up a lot of doors. The only reason I left was because I had family commitments in Adelaide. The student instrutors that have left all have left because they have found jobs where they can get more hours, more money or are closer to home.As far as PokeyDokey’s recommendation goes, Goulborn Aviation is only open on the weekends and don’t even have a twin aircraft. GFTC are open 7 days a week and have a better selection of aircraft. GFTC also seems to be more professional and their senior instrutors have been around a long time and are well regarded.Regardsblueyonder
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Old 16th Nov 2011, 22:06   #6 (permalink)
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Sydney Harbour
Posts: 193
Is Goulburn Aviation the one owned by a full time CASA staff member?
Dangly Bits is offline Report Post
Old 17th Nov 2011, 09:18   #7 (permalink)
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Sydney
Posts: 12
I’d be very wary of the “guaranteed employment” offer. I’d be more inclined to ask for a “guaranteed hours” offer. With some of the operators who offer what GFTC offer you’ll find the employment they offer will be purely on a casual basis and you’ll be expected to hang around 8 hours a day seven days a week if you want to fly.You’re asking the right questions hlamberg – especially considering the amount of money you’re about to spend. Blueyonder has put the hours he got on the table. My feeling is GFTC will take as many people as they can for the “Instructor Rating with guaranteed employment” offer so the hours the instructors fly each month will get split between however many people they have sitting in the hanger at any one time.Goulburn is a very small market and it is generally very quiet. The total hours possible for “true” training (ie not instructor ratings) is really quite limited.I take the quote about GFTC being “more professional” than Goulburn Aviation as a bit odd though. The only difference I see between the two is that GFTC makes all their Instructors wear full uniform whereas GA is a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Professional in appearance does not equate to professional in attitude. One of the instructors at GA’s got 30,000 hours mainly instructing under their belt and you’ll find it hard to get them out of their jeans and old cap but I don’t think that makes them less professional than a 300 hour Grade III in full uniform… They’re both catering to different markets I suppose – GFTC is really pushing their Flying Instructor ratings whilst GA has always been a school focused on training PPL and Recreational pilots. Hence the reason GA don’t have a twin also I’d imagine although they do train in a pretty nifty C182 turbo as well as a Cirrus and retractable Bonanza.
pokeydokey is online now Report Post
Old 5th Dec 2011, 20:46   #8 (permalink)
Probationary PPRuNer
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Canberra
Posts: 1

Yes, Goulburn Aviation’s CFI is a full time CASA staff member.
lbgsn is offline Report Post
Old 7th Dec 2011, 09:59   #9 (permalink)
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Sydney
Posts: 12
The owner of Goulburn Aviation is employed by CASA as an Aviation Safety advisor. She does not hold any delegations or “powers” and was asked by CASA to apply for the job because of her depth of knowledge and high regard in the industry. She prepares and presents the Avsafety seminars and other educational material aimed at maintaining or expanding pilots and engineers safety standards and enhancing their knowledge.GFTC was started by an ex-employee of CASA also which sometimes creates confusion…
pokeydokey is online now Report Post
Old 18th Jan 2012, 04:14   #10 (permalink)
Join Date: May 2010
Location: More than 300km from SY, Australia
Posts: 438
Director and shareholder of GFTC Pty Ltd

The person who is a director and shareholder of GFTC [Goulburn Flight Training Centre Pty Ltd] when the application for the AOC was made to casa, was employed in CLARC in Canberra at the time.I understand, this person is now no longer a director and shareholder of GFTC.One can only imagine why!!! Maybe no longer a CLARC casa staff member, no longer useful!!OR did the helpful FOI suggest that this change would expunge the record and the person could escape prosecution???

Of course we know, ASIC records are for ever!!!

Last edited by Up-into-the-air; 18th Jan 2012 at 04:19. Reason: spelling again!!

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Recreational Flying

soilmaster, 68volksy replied to a thread you are watching at Recreational Flying.

Goulburn Airport Sale



And you all probably though this saga was over!Well after two years the option to purchase the airport is to expire on Monday the 2nd of September. Many of the agreed works have not been completed – many have not even been started…The lessee has now asked Council for an extension of time. Two years ago he did not have the money (or did not want to pay) to purchase the airport and now (this is the really funny part!) two years later he does not have the funds (or want to pay) for the airport!!
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