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Sale of Phase 2 airports: release of preliminary information brochure

An information brochure for parties interested in the forthcoming sale of fifteen airports, currently operated by the Federal Airports Corporation, will shortly be available and was advertised in newspapers throughout Australia today.

As previously announced, the Government is expecting to call for Expressions of Interest in fifteen airports currently operated by the Federal Airports Corporation in October. The brochure will provide interested parties with important preliminary information about each of the airports plus an overview of the sales process.

The sales will build on the recent successful sales of Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth airports and will provide further opportunities for the private sector to provide innovative and quality airport services in Australia and for local communities to engage further in the economic development of the specific geographic regions in which their airports are located.

There is already strong regional interest and support for the sale process.

As with the assessment of bids for Phase 1 airports, all bids will be assessed on their merits having regard to the Government's overall sale and ongoing privatisation objectives as well as the evaluation criteria that will be issued to bidders. These will look closely at the substance of bids, their plans for the airport and other relevant factors, and not just the parties involved.

On offer are fifteen Federal airports, comprising ten Regular Public Transport (RPT) airports: Adelaide, Alice Springs, Canberra, Coolangatta, Darwin, Hobart, Launceston, Townsville, Mount Isa and Tennant Creek; and five General Aviation (GA) airports: Archerfield (QLD), Essendon (Vic), Jandakot (WA), Moorabbin (Vic) and Parafield (SA).

As outlined in the information brochure, the eight core regulated airports (Adelaide, Alice Springs, Canberra, Coolangatta, Darwin, Hobart, Launceston and Townsville) will be sold by long term leasehold. Each lease would be for 50 years with an option for an additional 49 years.

Subject to reaching agreement with relevant State or Territory Governments and to the passage of relevant amendments to the Airports (Transitional) Act 1996, the Commonwealth proposes to sell the remaining seven airports (the five General Aviation Airports of Archerfield, Essendon, Jandakot, Moorabbin and Parafield, plus Mount Isa and Tennant Creek) on a freehold basis.

The option of sale on a freehold basis for these airports would give the States control of the planning and environment controls of these airports. Commonwealth powers over safe operations, flight paths and aircraft noise would be unaffected; but the question of how the airport interacts with the community in which it is located would become a matter for the States.

A total of 234 local airports were transferred out of Commonwealth ownership on a freehold basis under the former Government.

The task of offering fifteen airports for simultaneous individual sales has never been attempted before and represents a significant undertaking by the Government given the number of airports involved and their diverse locations.

Sale preparations are progressing well and we intend to invite formal expressions of interest for all airports in October 1997.

The sale process is expected to be completed by 30 June 1998.

Canberra

For further information, contact:

David McLachlan, John Fahey's Office, 06 277 7400

Adam Connolly, John Sharp's Office, 06 277 7680