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Wednesday, 2 June 2010
Page: 4933


Mr LINDSAY (11:27 PM) —In the time of the former government there was a landmark decision made in relation to airports: airports were leased out to the private sector. There have been some good outcomes with that and there have been some not so good outcomes. At my own airport in Townsville we have had a fantastic outcome. The local operator who took over completely redeveloped the airport—something that would not have happened under the custodianship of the old FAC. Townsville was the big winner out of that particular privatisation. The downsides, of course, are the fees and charges that we are seeing and what people are being asked to pay and so on. Some of the parking charges are extortionate. Some of the things that the current airport operators do to force you to pay the fees are just amazing. I will get onto that in just a moment. I appreciated the contribution of the previous speaker, the member for Canning, in relation to Perth Airport. Deputy Speaker Washer, Perth Airport would not be unknown to you. I was there very recently and the redevelopment has made the outside look like a train station. You would expect trains to be coming down, not cars and taxis. It just seems very puzzling to me that that design was used.

We have had a bit of a problem with the Townsville airport for some time in relation to the pick-up and drop-off area and the roads that go to that. I am pleased to tell the parliament that Townsville airport is now addressing that, and in the next month or so we will see the final work done to tidy that up. Traffic is always a problem, and of course this bill is about traffic and validating tickets that have been issued to drivers who have not done the right thing. Where are some of the good airports for traffic? I guess you have to say that, if you are catching a taxi, Singapore is among the best. It is very good indeed. In Australia, Melbourne and Brisbane are good for catching taxis, but Perth is horrible for catching taxis—just awful. Canberra airport probably takes the cake for being the worst airport at the moment in relation to pick-up and drop-off, and I think we all have experience of that. Brisbane drop-off is very difficult. Those issues really do need to be addressed.

There is a great need these days for areas where people coming to airports just to pick up an arriving passenger can pull up and wait until the passenger rings them up and says they have arrived and will wait at the kerb to be picked up. In the United States they are called mobile parking areas, the connotation being that you just wait by your mobile phone and when it rings the passengers arrive and you can start your car and go into the pick-up zone and pick them up. We do not do that in Australia, and we should. I appeal to airport operators to make that provision for passengers who need to be picked up, who do not need short-term or long-term parking. Brisbane airport actually works against that philosophy, because on the four- or five-kilometre approach to Brisbane there is no parking all the way along. The idea seems to be to feed cars into the short-term car park so you can charge them money. I reckon that is pretty short-sighted and unfortunate. The travelling public should have somewhere they can just wait until the plane lands and the passenger comes out of the terminal and they can just be called when the passenger is ready to be picked up. It seems eminently sensible to me, and I appeal to the airport operators to have a look at that.

This bill fixes the administrative oversight that occurred in a former bill in relation to parking notices, and it addresses the question of the status of notices issued prior to 25 March to make them all valid. It is a non-controversial piece of legislation. I support it and the opposition supports it, and I thank the House for the time to make this contribution.