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MrDak and the Senate

Mike MrDak is a senior public servant, who was involved in the “Pink Batts” affair, as an advisor to Kevin Rudd.

There have been a series of other issues where MrDak has been asked serious questions.

In the following, article, the matter of the October 2011 Senate estimates is canvassed.

Mr Mrdak: Both. Our primary focus is to make sure the airports are available to provide facilities for aviation growth. That is the primary focus of the master planning process and the way in which we regulate the airports.

Serious questions have been asked and not properly answered of MrDak.


Senator FAWCETT: If I can continue, all I am doing is highlighting an example. We have had the secretary tell us that everything is rosy. I have three or four examples where quite clearly the process of checking, verification and independent audit of the advice, whether it is given by the airport operator, by a consultant or by CASA in some cases has not been taken up and acted on appropriately by the department. That is the issue at hand, so all that detail was merely an example where due diligence has not been applied to a process and the end result is operational restrictions on people at the airport, which flies directly in the face of the stated intention of providing paths for growth for the airport.

The Questions on Notice by Senator Fawcett, show that MrDak is avoiding the basis of CAAct 9A and the effects of decision making being made by others who do not not have either the authority or the expertise to make decisions involving the broader issues of aviation safety.


Some of the answers are as follows – moving the answers to a third party and avoiding CAAct 9A seems to be the way of MrDak:


Rural Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee
Supplementary Budget Estimates October 2011
Infrastructure and Transport
Question no.: 110
Program: 2.4
Division/Agency: (AAA) Aviation and Airports
Topic: Closure of the cross-wind runway (18/36) at Bankstown Airport
Proof Hansard Page/s: Written

Senator Heffernan asked:

Bankstown Airport Limited (BAL) has removed a number of vital infrastructure assets since they were given the lease to run the airport. The list below is a sample of these lost assets;
– The only cross wind runway in the Sydney area available to general aviation aircraft. Runway 18/36.
– Taxiways
– Run up bays
– Compass swing area
– Helicopter training areas
– Road Closures
– Aircraft parking areas
– Windsocks
Bankstown is the only class D airport in the country that now does not have a cross wind runway. All other class D airports such as Jandakot, Moorabbin, Parafield and Archerfield have cross wind runways
1. On or about December 2006, Bankstown Airport Limited closed Runway 18/36, who authorised the closure of Runway 18/36?
2. At the time of closure, what consultation was done with the aviation community? Please provide details.
3. During the Master Planning process where it was proposed to remove the runway, did you get any responses from interested parties objecting to the removal?
4. How many responses did you receive that were positive to the removal of the runway?
Please list names and responses that agreed and disagreed to closure.
5. Was CASA consulted about the closure of the runway? Can you supply evidence?
6. Was Air Services consulted about the closure of the runway? Can you supply evidence?
7. Where there any studies done on the safety impact of removing the runway? Do you have evidence?
8. Where do you anticipate pilots should fly to now in the event that Bankstown becomes unusable due to high winds from a North/South direction?
9. What economic impact has it had on businesses at BKN when it has become too dangerous to fly at BKN due to wind conditions? Has a study been undertaken, if so, please provide a report.
10. Why was the runway removed or fenced off during the Christmas period of 2006 when most other construction work ceases?
11. How many of the current BAL staff are pilots?
12. How many pilots did BAL have on staff when the decision about the removal of 18/36 and other crucial infrastructure were made at Bankstown Airport?
13. Was the runway closed by BAL/BAC Devco or Korda Mentha?
14. Why was the decision made to close Runway 18/36 so as to sell Lot 27 and Lot 28 for non aviation use?
15. Was there approval by CASA or Aviation and Airports for the closure of the runway? If not why not/
16. Where do you think pilots can land safely in the Sydney Basin in an unacceptable and unsafe crosswind, 5 knots to 10 knots is considered safe?
17. Why was the Runway closed without the approval of CASA and Air Services Australia?
18. Why was the runway closed, when it was in direct contravention of Clause 9.2 of the Lease from the Commonwealth of Australia?
19. When was the decision to close Runway 18/36 made?
20. Was the decision to close Runway 18/36 made as an inducement for BAC Devco to purchase the Lease to enable a commercial development site?
21. How much was paid by BAC Devco for the purchase of its interests in Bankstown Aerodrome?


1. The closure of the runway was identified in the 2004/05 Bankstown Airport Master Plan.
The Master Plan was approved by the then Government (Minister Anderson) in March 2005.
2. As part of the Master Plan process General Aviation users of Bankstown Airport were consulted on the proposed Master Plan, including the provision for the closure of the cross-wind runway (18/36).
3. During the Master Plan process seven submissions raised the removal of the cross wind runway with six of these submissions raising concern over the removal of runway 18/36 and two of these were from aviation industry operators.
4. No submissions directly positive about the removal of the runway were received.
5. During the 2004-05 Master Plan process CASA did not raise any concerns with the Department about the closure of the cross-wind runway 18/36 at Bankstown Airport.
CASA further advised the Department that the lack of a secondary runway is not a safety issue as there is no mandatory requirement for an aerodrome operator to provide any number of runways so that 100 per cent wind utilisation is achieved.
6. Airservices was consulted as part of the 2004-05 Master Plan process. At that time Airservices advised that the cross-wind runway was rarely used because of its restricted operational capabilities and because its use severely impacted on the operation of Bankstown Airport’s three parallel runways.
7. Bankstown Airport Limited consulted with both CASA and Airservices on the closure of the cross-wind runway (18/36). Neither party raised an objection to the closure on safety grounds.
8. Alternate airports available to General Aviation operators in the Sydney Basin, with cross-wind runways include: Camden (10/28); Richmond (10/28); Wollongong (16/34); Wedderburn (17/35); The Oaks (18/36); Warnevale (02/20); and Mittagong (06/24).
9. The Department has not been advised of any economic impact on businesses in Bankstown from the closure of the cross-wind runway (18/36).
10. Building permits to erect a perimeter fence around the South West Sector of Bankstown Airport and for the removal of the southern end of the runway were issued on 14 and 20 December 2005. These works are recorded as being completed on 23 February 2006 and 20 September 2006 respectively.
11. The Department does not have this information.
12. The Department does not have this information.
13. The Runway was closed by Bankstown Airport Limited.
14. Minister Anderson approved the 2004-05 Master Plan as he was satisfied that Bankstown Airport Limited had met the relevant legislative and lease requirements.
15. Yes.
16. See answer to Question 8.
17. It was not, see answer to Question 15.
18. See answer to Question 1.
19. See answer to Question 1.
20. No.
21. This is a commercial matter for the parties concerned.


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