Airport relocation bid crash lands

By Tony Barass

December 16, 2006 12:00am

Article from: The Australian

A $1 BILLION bid to relocate one of Australia's busiest airports was in tatters last night after the federal Government withdrew its support for the unpopular plan.

Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile said the federal Government would not support Jandakot Airport Holding's plan to move Perth's secondary airport "in any way".

The decision is likely to have ramifications around the nation with many big general aviation airfields being stalked by developers keen to secure large slabs of real estate close to capital cities.

The decision, outlined in a letter from Mr Vaile to the proponents and obtained by The Weekend Australian, was applauded by the Jandakot Chamber of Commerce, which has led the fight against the plan, along with the Aero Club of Western Australia, Royal Flying Doctor Service, various rescue groups and numerous airport-based companies.

Chamber secretary Gary Gaunt said Mr Vaile's announcement would send a message that airports such as Jandakot, Bankstown in southwestern Sydney and Parafield near Adelaide were a crucial part of the national transport infrastructure and not the plaything of real estate developers.

Ascot Capital Limited, which owns JAH and which, in turn, holds a 99-year-lease over Jandakot's 622ha adjacent to the Kwinana Freeway just south of Perth, would not comment on Mr Vaile's decision. The group wanted to relocate Jandakot's three runways 30km further south near Mandurah and was open to a possible land swap involving the state Government.

Part of its argument to relocate was air traffic congestion. But Mr Vaile said he had been assured by Airservices Australia that the airspace could be managed.