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Bankstown- It’s “future” – Aviation must prevail

Bankstown- It’s “future” – Aviation must prevail

In Archerfield, a similar situation exists.

Out with aviation in with the dollars.

This is the real question facing the Austalian Parliament – Senators Nash, Fawcett, Sterle, Heffernan, Xenophon have a real battle on their hands.

Aviation must prevail.

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I attach a recent blog post, which exposes the Bankstown issues:

 

03-09-2015, 12:38 PM, (This post was last modified: 03-10-2015, 06:07 AM by kharon.)
RE: Two more for the minuscule pot.

AN AIRPORTS TALE.
Early last week a presentation was given at Bankstown Airport.  About thirty people were in attendance.
The meeting was allegedly held to inform and educate us about developments on the southern side of Bankstown Airport. What we were confronted with was a very slick PR presentation by Leda Holdings, a property developer. The presentation was more designed to make politicians and local councils salivate over the dollars on offer, rather than provide aircraft business operators, about to lose a quarter of their useable airport , the benefits of the grand scheme.
The theme was the urban utopia the developers are intending to create o ver almost a quarter of the available land at Bankstown Airport. Never once, not during the entire presentation was aviation mentioned in any way.  Seems it is fate accompli; a done deal.One quarter of the airport isto be developed for the benefit of property sharks, no consideration of or benefit to is given to aircraft business operators, the airport users.  To say the meeting became somewhat confrontational, is a slight understatement.Is this the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning for Bankstown as an airport and for that matter all secondary airports in Australia? Has the value of the airport real estate reached a point where the temptation to succumb to the siren call of the property sharks money become too strong for thePollies to resist?Prior to 1998 all secondary airports in Australia were owned by the people of Australia.
All revenues from those airports paid by the users was “Net Profit” to the government, the airports were costing the government and the people of Australia nothing, in fact they were making the government money, but it would seem not enough.

Let’s have a little look at some history:

In 1998 the Federal Government, for whatever reason became desperate to sell off all secondary airports around Australia, but were having trouble attracting a buyer. So the story goes, a certain Mr. MrDak, a consummate bureaucrat, know to us all by his alias as the “Murky Machiavellian”, and his side kick none other than a Mr.“ The Beaker”, Dolan esquire another career bureaucrat of current ATSB fame, were tasked with getting rid of the airports at any cost.
Ultimately deal was struck with McBank, one of the most ethical and moral banks in Australia to act as honest brokers.   The three secondary airports in the Sydney basinwereto be leased, rumor has it, for$230,000,000 or there about.  Nobody knows what Mc Banks commissions were, but some would say the bank directors were eyeing off their new top of the range Mercedes.The Federal Airports Corporation (FAC), the wholly owned Federal Government company, at that time administered the secondary airports. Under direction from the “Murky Machiavellian” and “ beaker, Dolan”.A public, unlisted companywas floated with two government ministers as the directors and shareholders.  The companywas called “Bankstown Airports Limited” orBAL for short.At the time a Mr. Ian Ferrier Esquire, a liquidator by profession, was chairman of the FAC and Mr Barry Thompson was general manager.  They negotiated leases between the airports and its tenants which were later transferred to BAL, who secured the airports under a lease arrangement with the Federal Government.  BAL was transferred to a McBank engineered Consortium of multiple companies owned by various high profile property developers and identities including Nathan Tinkler, and rumor has it, people with ties to the Obied family.

After a suitable period of grace BAL tore up the airport leases and increased airport tenants rents by, in some cases over a 1000% and those rents have continued to rise as the years went by.  It may be of interest to readers that Mr. Ferrier is chairman of Goodmans who just happen to be the owners of Moorabbin airport in Melbourne.

Goodmans are also property developers.   They are the builders of the massive Toll Freight depot at Bankstown, which in contravention of the head lease from the Federal Government resulted in the destruction of several taxiways, or aviation infrastructure.

The airports are State government land under the control of the Federal Government. Bankstown airport has a State Government Lot and portfolio number, therefore State Law applies and this fact is stated in the head lease between BAL and the Federal Government.  There is evidence the building approvals for this building were issued by BAL itself, in contravention of State Law….   Any questions Milud?

Was NSW Government Stamp Duty Paid on the original transaction between BAL and the Federal Gov.?  

A clause in the Commonwealth lease signed by BAL says it must be, but was it??  Its passing strange the lease document does not seem to have a State Government Stamp??

Now I’m only an amateur but could BAL produce that in a court of law unstamped?? Passing strange that all documents relating to the secondary airports in the Sydney basin have conveniently and mysterially disappeared from State government archives.   Who was in power in NSW at the time?? Eddie O’bied?? …..Na, course not, or was he? Not to worry a big mate of his was.

Interesting that Mr. Carr left NSW politics to become??

Oh surprise, surprise….A director of Mc Bank the most ethical, moral bank in the world…..Wow Bob, as a journalist and politician (core skill required. Being able to Lie convincingly) you sure must have bought a wealth of….err? expertise to the running of a bank.  After sterling service as a director with McBank, where we have been told, turning up for board meetings was entirely optional, he departed the bank for federal politics with a nice little farm in New Zealand as a bonus.

Did Mc Bank save $12 Million or so in NSW stamp duty??

The lease signed between the Federal Government and an entity created specifically for the purpose BAL, by Mr. MrDak and Mr. Dolan, eventually became owned by a convoluted web of companies who are??? …Surprise, Surprise? mainly involved in property development.

Now I don’t know, but I’ve heard valuation of Bankstown airport, as Greenfield freehold land slap dab in the centre of Sydney, could run to billions.  Logic tells me that billions of dollars would be a hell of a temptation to property developers.  That sort of money could attract a wealth of corruption, something property developers from past experience in NSW, seem to have an affinity with.

In the State of NSW there was a long history of corruption between property developers and Government to the point where special laws were put in place to make it difficult for property developers to corrupt public officials, especially politicians.

Ah. But the secondary airports are owned by the Federal government and these anti- corruption laws therefore do not apply, or do they? So the secondary airports, in essence owned by the public and which were operated for the benefit of the public were sold to property developers at vastly undervalued prices.

None of the proceeds, not one single dollar, received by the federal government were ever spend on the promotion or advancement of General Aviation, the $230 Million disappeared into consolidated revenue, never to be seen again.

So what benefit did General Aviation receive from the sale of their secondary airports?

Nothing.

In fact General Aviation went backwards, because in the Sydney basin they lost one of their airports.
As part of the deal with Mc Bank, Hoxton Park was closed and sold off, with a little creative accounting, because unfortunately the Commonwealth didn’t have title over all the land.

Not to worry massage the law a tad, conveniently ignore the odd embarrassing fact and in go the bulldozers to rip up the runway and a massive warehouse distribution center for Woolworths is created
I am told Hoxton netted $230,000,000 for BAL or about what was paid for all three airports.
Wow!!McBank that pillar of ethical moral banking, got their money back at a stroke, and the aviation Industry loses one of their airports.

The Mc Bank directors live happily ever after with their new Mercs and some cash in the bank from their bonuses. Thank you general aviation!

Poor General Aviation! only consolation is déjà view, the people who used to complain about noise from the odd light aircraft now have to endure the noise of 24/7 truck traffic clogging their urban streets as they pass their bedroom windows around the Hoxton area.

The $230,000,000, where did that go??

Nobody knows, maybe to some holding company in Bermuda?

Is that how Mascot airport can turn over a billion dollars a year for the past ten years and not pay a cent in tax?
Wow these airports are a nice little tax free earner earner.  Bankstown and Camden Airports remain, while the development sharks circle. All that stands between them and billions is an ever decreasing number of aviation businesses which can no longer afford the exorbitant rents and are either closing their doors or relocating to airports outside the Sydney basin.

Imagine the developers frustration, all that land, just sitting there waiting to be converted into money but their attempts to price aviation to leave frustrated by a bunch of stalwart stayers.

The head lease indicates that the airports were to be reserved for aviation use.

The utility of the airports for aviation was not to be tampered with. Yet it has been in contravention of the head lease.

That the lessee must maintain ALL aviation infrastructure in its original condition, which it hasn’t.
Further, any development at the airport could not impede future growth of the aviation industry, recognizing that as an industry, aviation requires a runway to operate from, it cannot just move down the road to another location if their landlord with a monopoly gets greedy.

Rents at the airport rise by 1000 of percent way above off airport prices per square meter, and continue to rise to ridiculous levels, on very short term lease, not exactly an inducement for anyone to invest in an aviation business at the airport.

Non-aviation businesses of which there are many, pay the going local rate, which I guess keeps the cash flow going until aviation is finally finished.   Them as can, desert the airport in droves, finding homes in surrounding airports like Wollongong, Bathurst and Cessnock, outside the Sydney basin, they have growth at these places because of the impositions of a capricious landlord with a monopoly over choices at Bankstown. It becomes cheaper to keep your aircraft hangered in Bathurst and ferry in and out of Bankstown than to pay BAL’s exorbitant fees.

The Airports utility goes backwards again, losing several taxiways and an emergency North South runway at Bankstown, vital for a training airport in case student pilots returning from the training area are confronted with crosswinds beyond their capabilities.

They are now faced with attempting to land in conditions beyond the safe limits of their aircraft or divert to Mascot and disrupting airline operations. It could be said that this situation has led to one or two accidents, fortunately none fatal.  Passing strange that the North South runway when it existed made development of vacant land on the southern side of the airport impossible.

The shark’s circle, there’s blood in the water.

They can take bites out of the periphery of the airport by producing robust master plans and lobby Politician’s to agree to them, slowly reducing the utility of the airports and closing the door to any future expansion the aviation Industry may need in the future.

The closure of the North South runway in contravention of the head lease gives them a really big bite, around a quarter of the airport they claim is “Surplus” land.

Some four years ago Bankstown Airport Limited began dumping un remediated, contaminated land fill on the flood plane on the southern side of the airport.  All sorts of rumors abound about where this fill came from.   What is known and has been admitted to at a Senate inquiry, the fill is contaminated with asbestos.    It has also been suggested that radio active material was also dumped there either from contaminated Hunters Hill material or from a brick works site.

We’ll know for sure when shoppers at the new factory outlet start glowing in the dark.

The purpose of this dumping was obviously to build the land up above historic flood levels to prepare the land for development.   This was done without any form of official environmental approval, and was in fact illegal under state law because altering flood planes can have all sorts of adverse affects to people downstream.

BAL wrote their own unsigned environmental approvals using commonwealth government letterheads for the dumping of this contaminated land fill!!  Err scuse me but is that legal? aint that fraud??

They have exposed existing airport users and surrounding residents to asbestos and possibly radio active contamination and residents downstream along the Georges river of not only more severe flooding but of flood waters containing some fairly nasty stuff.

In addition Bankstown airport is already contaminated ground. There is live ammunition and explosives buried all over the airport from the second world war.  Unlikely I know, but someone’s Aunty, innocently shopping, could vanish with a loud bang “Explosion in Aisle three, clean up crew to aisle three!!”

Coincidences, coincidences.

It’s an interesting coincidence that during this time, the Murky Machiavellian now in charge of the department of infrastructure and transport and therefore the puppet master for The Civil Aviation Safety Authority oversaw the Federal government authority embark on a project to rewrite Australia’s aviation regulations.

Twenty years and some $250 million and counting has been spend to generate a completely unique rule set that even blind Freddie would recognize as being unworkable and unaffordable by the Industry.

Took New Zealand only a couple of years and a few million to produce what is recognized as one of the best rule sets in the world which is being adopted all over the Pacific and now into other places outside our region.
Far from CAsA’s claims of being a world leader, they are in fact dysfunctional clowns and Australia has become an international joke in aviation circles.

I have heard comment on the airways “Australia is the only third world country where you can drink the water”
The recently invoked Part 61 regulations are widely viewed as the beginning of the end for General Aviation in Australia, massive costs and over regulation imposed on an already impoverished industry.

Two thousand pages of gobbledygook to define something the Kiwis and Americans can in about 80 pages.  This will be followed soon by thousands more in the new Part 135 regulation suite.  Part 61 was designed to bring the GA industry to its knees, part135 will deliver the coup de grace.

Why you say?

What possible motive could they have for destroying an industry?

I and quite a few others would say a few billion or so reasons.  One of the senior members of the controlling iron ring of CAsA has publicly stated that his intention was that the only aviation to occur in Australia would be the RAAF and airlines.

With a billion dollars worth of real estate at Bankstown alone, even without the other capital city secondary airports, there is one hell of a motive for getting rid of general aviation and closing secondary airports.
There is no political will to foster Aviation and its obvious why.

Mr. MrDak is the relevant ministers “Sir Humphrey”   He controls what the minister see’s and signs. Another “Master Plan” or “Master Con” turns up from an airport Operator simply gets signed, the minister assured it’s kosher.

In Western Australia the Airport Operator even suggested they would build another General Aviation Airport another thirty miles further from the city if they were allowed a free hand at Jandakot Airport.

Mr. MrDak obviously thought that was a tad premature and not according to the “Real” master plan.
We are an Industry impoverished by a corrupt incompetent regulator, unaccountable to anyone including our parliament. We have neither the money nor the political profile to compete with the property sharks who’s enormous financial recourses grease the wheels and corrupt the processes.

They beguile a gullible public with the promise of an urban Utopia, employing thousands, that all the residents of an area will benefit from.

In reality of course when they have taken the money and left Mr and Mrs Joe Public will benefit the same as the Aviation Industry.   With Nothing.

Bankstown Airport has existed for over 70 years.

In its existence trained countless highly qualified engineers, pilots and other professionals who have gone on to make a massive contribution to the development of Australia.
The airport has created and nurtured businesses that have employed thousands, contributing to the national wealth of Australia. Given a chance it could become a driving force for Australian Industry.

It has no chance with Development sharks circling its airports biting ever increasing chunks from their peripheries and a regulator hell bent on having nothing left to regulate.

The Aviation Industry in New Zealand, because they have a competent regulator, is now their second biggest contributor to their GDP.

There is no reason Australia could not emulate New Zealand except for the lack of political will and an intractable regulator, set in the past, inured with a military doctrine and massive ego’s, that they order, we obey.
Until CAsA are bought to heel, and dragged kicking and screaming into the real world and forced to regulate for the benefit of those they regulate, there is no hope for any advancement in the aviation Industry in Australia, to the detriment of our national well being.

For that very reason, knowing the industry is weak and vulnerable, the property sharks circle, certain that ultimately our depleted industry will succumb and be defenseless to their attacks.

What do the current industry nemesis at Bankstown offer??

They bleed the industry of more and more dollars, illegally compromise the integrity and utility of our airports, contribute to endemic corruption, place the entire community at risk from asbestos exposure, destroy a flood plain placing downstream landholders in jeopardy should a future flood occur, and when they have achieved their aim, made their billions and left??

What benefit befalls the aviation Industry, the wider community and the nation??

Zero, Zilch, None.

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