LETTER: Time for new council to rethink aiport costs
With Council elections not far away, it's time for all new candidates to familiarise themselves with a big ticket item affecting rate payers, and conveniently overlooked in the run up to the last elections.
There is no doubting the Gladstone Airport run-way required some work to bring it up to scratch.
So just after the amalgamation of Gladstone/Calliope/Miriam Vale Shire Councils, (15th March 08) the newly elected GRC decided to borrowed money and: "did it on our own with no contribution from State Government and only $5m funding from the Federal Government" (GO 17 Nov 11).
I understand GAC reported in its last annual report the airport operation ran at a net profit of $2.133 million as at 30/6/15, but only after deferring payment on a number of outstanding charges, and debt dumping.
The forecast is for even less this coming year. (GAC Statement of corporate intent P.7)
Did you know the Whitsunday Regional Council is following the lead of other councils, and is seeking to sell a 49% interest in their airport as a way of paying for an airport upgrade, rather than burdening their rate payers with more debt and interest payments? (Sep 2015.)
What fresh ideas have our nine Councillors come up with to ease excessive rate charges?
The airport upgrade was rushed through in the upheaval of amalgamation, but primarily for the benefit of the FIFO gas industry workers.
So how much did they contribute to debt reduction, for use of this rate payer funded facility?
If rate payers own the airport - why is the Council seemingly now mute about this costly asset?
Release of this information is vital for rate payers to make an honest assessment of Council's ability to deliver "bang" for rate payers "bucks".