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Tuesday, 4 April 2000
Page: 15218

Mr Martin Ferguson asked the Minister for Transport and Regional Services, upon notice, on 16 February 2000:

(1) Will the Government place Essendon Airport, Vic., up for sale again; if so, when.

(2) How did the proposals received for leasehold sale not sufficiently satisfy the Governments sales objective on the last occasion.

(3) What will be the Governments sales objectives when Essendon Airport is next placed on the market and will they differ from the Governments sales objective on the last occasion.

(4) Will bidders be permitted to redevelop the site, or any part of it, for residential purposes.

Mr Anderson (Minister for Transport and Regional Services) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) No decision on the long term future of Essendon Airport has been made. Following the corporatisation of the airport in June 1998, the Minister for Finance and Administration has sole shareholder responsibility for the airport.

(2) The sale process for Essendon Airport was terminated by the Government on 8 April 1998. The decision was taken after detailed consideration of the bids received from the two shortlisted bidders against the sales and on-going privatisation objectives set at the outset of the sales process. It was concluded that the proposals received did not sufficiently satisfy, to the level required, a number of the Government's objectives. In particular there were significant issues in relation to the commitment of the bidders to the long term aeronautical use of the site.

(3) The Government is yet to consider these matters.

(4) Essendon Airport currently operates under the regulatory regime set out in the Airports Act 1996 and Regulations made pursuant to this Act. The Airports Regulations (Regulation 2.04) provides a general prohibition on subleases for residential development at leased Federal airports.