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Thursday, 12 September 1996
Page: 3371


Senator TAMBLING (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport and Regional Development)(11.12 a.m.) —Further to the discussion that ensued on this bill yesterday, I advise that the government proposes to bring forward further amendments which have been circulated in the chamber. They are supplementary amendments that I propose to move on behalf of the government. They are numbered 1, 2, 3 and 4 and they relate to clauses 4, 38, 47A and 47B of the bill.

The government has agreed to a special request from the Premier of Western Australia to extend the cross-ownership restrictions to the Airports Bill to separate control of Perth airport from Sydney airport on the same basis as Melbourne and Brisbane airports. In supporting statements made in conjunction with the introduction of the legislation, such as in the second reading speech, the government indicated its continuing support for individual ownership of airports and encouraging diversity in lease ownership and management of federal airports, while having regard to the response from potential investors and other leasing objectives.

The government has recently reinstated cross-ownership provisions which separate Sydney, with Sydney West, from Melbourne and Brisbane airports in the form included in the Airports Bill 1995, and did so in amendments moved at the beginning of these committee hearings.

The amendments which the government made by reinstatement of the cross-ownership restrictions ensure the separate ownership and control of the airport lessee and any airport management companies of Sydney and Sydney West from Melbourne airport, and Sydney and Sydney West from Brisbane airport. The cross-ownership limitations apply to both the airport lessee company and the airport management company. Separation is achieved by both a 15 per cent limit and a practical control test. The government has also already advised that it will make it a condition of the lease of the first stage airports that bidders must bid for Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth airports individually.

The government has now given further consideration to the position and the treatment of Perth airport, which, along with Melbourne and Brisbane, is one of the major airports to be leased in the first phase of airport sales. Given that bids for Melbourne and Brisbane will be sought separately from each other and from Perth, it seems only logical that cross-ownership provisions reflect this as well; thus all of the first phase airports will be kept separate from Sydney.

It now seems clear that there will be a stronger field of bidders for the phase 1 airports than originally expected. There has been an increase in the number of international operators and consortia interested in acquiring airport leases since cross-ownership rules were first proposed by the previous Labor government. There is also a greater appreciation of the airports being excellent investments for institutions and funds managers.

As a result, and in addition to support for the government's move to achieve diversity of ownership of phase 1 airports, market conditions are now quite strong; thus we see no commercial reason against the extension of the cross-ownership restrictions to include Perth. However, I should say that this should not be seen as a precedent for other future airport lease sales. Therefore, I seek leave to move the amendments as tabled which ensure the separation of control of Sydney with Sydney West from Perth airport.

Leave granted.


Senator TAMBLING —I move:

(1)   Clause 4, paragraph (c) of the seventh dot-point, omit "and Sydney/Brisbane", substitute ", Sydney/Brisbane and Sydney/Perth".

(2)   Clause 38, paragraph (c) of the first dot-point, omit "and Sydney/Brisbane", substitute ", Sydney/Brisbane and Sydney/Perth".

(3)   Clause 47A, after the second dot-point, insert:

   Airport-operator companies for Sydney and Perth form a pair .

(4)   Clause 47B, at the end of the table add:

the airport-lessee company for Perth Airportthe airport-lessee company for Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport
an airport-management company for Perth Airportthe airport-lessee company for Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport
the airport-lessee company for Perth Airportan airport-management company for Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport
an airport-management company for Perth Airportan airport-management company for Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport
the airport-lessee company for Perth Airportthe airport-lessee company for Sydney West Airport
an airport-management company for Perth Airportthe airport-lessee company for Sydney West Airport
the airport-lessee company for Perth Airportan airport-management company for Sydney West Airport
an airport-management company for Perth Airportan airport-management company for Sydney West Airport