May 24, 2011

Securing future investment in our Airports

Securing future investment in our Airports

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

Minister for Infrastructure & Transport

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

24 May 2011

A significant obstacle to the plans of Australia’s major airports to invest up to $9 billion over the next ten years to expand and modernise their facilities has been removed, with the Gillard Labor Government agreeing to extend the existing Tripartite Deeds.

Over the past decade Tripartite Deeds have clarified the rights of financers in the event an operator of a federally leased airport to which they have lent money goes out of business or loses its operating licence – a regime which has given financiers the confidence to invest and operators the certainty to plan for the long term.

Following representations from industry, the Deeds attached to twelve airports – Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, Darwin, the Gold Coast, Townsville, Alice Springs, Launceston and Bankstown – will be extended to cover the full 50 year duration of the leases held by their operators.

Originally the regime was expected to last just 20 years, with the first of the Deeds expiring in 2017.

The continuity and long term certainty this decision provides is timely.

With the number of passengers transiting through our major airports expected to more than double to 235 million in less than two decades, the modernisation plans of operators will be essential to making sure their facilities can cope and their services remain world class.

As residents of a vast island continent located in a remote part of the globe, Australians rely heavily on our airports to not only keep us connected to each other but also with the rest world. Indeed they are important engines of economic growth, directly supporting more than 50,000 jobs and contributing $4.9 billion a year to national income.

The possible extension of Tripartite Deeds was first flagged in the Aviation White Paper which I released in December 2009. Over coming months my Department will work with the relevant operators and their financiers to finalise the revised arrangements.