Sunshine Coast Council today (17 October 2019) considered the draft Master Plan 2040 submitted by Sunshine Coast Airport Pty Ltd as the airport manager and the organisation responsible for the safe operation of the facility.
Economic Development and Innovation Portfolio Councillor Steve Robinson said the master plan fulfilled the contract requirements between council and Palisade Investment Partners when they acquired the airport business in 2017.
“The draft Master Plan 2040 sets out Sunshine Coast Airport Pty Ltd’s vision for the first 20 years of airport operations based around the additional capabilities that will be provided by our new runway,” Cr Robinson said.
“It appropriately accounts for issues raised during the 10-week public consultation undertaken by Sunshine Coast Airport earlier this year.”
Cr Robinson highlighted that the Master Plan was not a land use approval document – it was effectively a business plan for how the airport would operate for the next 20 years.
“Any development on the airport site which is proposed by Sunshine Coast Airport will need to be the subject of future development applications and will be managed and considered in line with how council and other levels of government deal with all other development applications,” he said.
Cr Robinson said it was a matter for the Sunshine Coast Airport to determine whether it could operate a northern portion of the existing runway.
Cr Robinson said Sunshine Coast Airport held the CASA licences for the safe operation of the airport, which includes responsibility for the safe operations of the runway infrastructure.
“Council cannot direct the Sunshine Coast Airport to retain in operation, a portion of the existing runway, if the Airport operator deems it is unsafe to do so,” Cr Robinson said.
The commercial arrangement which was put in place with Palisade Investment Partners in 2017 following an extensive public tender process enables Council to deliver a new runway and associated infrastructure at no enduring cost to the ratepayer, as well as receiving an annual royalty payment of 5 per cent of gross revenue for the life of the agreement.
“The total value of that deal to Council is estimated at $605 million,” Cr Robinson said.
“The commercial partnership has enabled council to proceed with the airport expansion project – a project that will deliver approximately $4.1 billion to the Sunshine Coast economy through to 2040 and 2,230 jobs over the same period.
“Once complete, the new runway enables the Sunshine Coast Airport to accommodate direct flights to Asia and the Pacific and extends our reach to other locations in Australia which cannot currently be serviced with direct flights.”
Cr Robinson said the benefits to our region, including our neighbouring local government areas, would grow year on year.
“Passenger numbers could feasibly reach 2 million annually in the not-too-distant future.”
The creation of new freight services and an export hub will give Sunshine Coast businesses and producers the local facilities needed to export their products and services to much-sought after Asian markets faster and more efficiently.