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Delivering a Better Airport for Port Hedland

16 August 2015

Discussions continue on the proposed long-term lease of Port Hedland International Airport and community members are invited to attend an information session on Monday 17 August to hear the facts.

The Town of Port Hedland is nearing the end of a two-year, extensive consultation process on the future commerciality of the airport to see if there is a more efficient way of operating the airport.

Mayor Kelly Howlett said that if endorsed by Council in late-August, the proposed long-term lease model transaction will provide tens of millions of dollars that will be invested in the future of Port Hedland.

“I urge community members to familiarise themselves with the facts on the long-term lease, what it means for our airport, what it means for our town and what it means for our future” Mayor Howlett said.

Key facts:

  • lease premium would be invested to benefit our community
  • privately operated airports have achieved reduced airfares and have invested significant amounts into their facilities
  • proposed lease would include requirements to invest capex to meet growth and maintain assets and for annual audits
  • Town of Port Hedland would retain ownership and strategic oversight
  • Town of Port Hedland airport staff would be guaranteed their jobs

“To lease the airport to a private airport operator on a 50-year lease means that the airport will not be sold, but remain the property of the Town of Port Hedland.

“In terms of providing our community with a better airport, a private operator possesses the expertise, experience and capital to fund major upgrades, develop economic opportunities and advance our airport to ensure Port Hedland continues to be powerful gateway to and from North West Australia and extend our international market reach.

“Initial bids have been in excess of $150M – the premium of the potential lease means that we have a unique opportunity to create a fund for our future.

“Some of the capital will replace the current income of the airport, and remaining funds will be used to benefit
the community and invest for future residents and those who will make Port Hedland home in the coming decades.

“The Town of Port Hedland has been engaging and informing the community on the details of the proposed lease and ensuring that the most up to date details are available, within commercial sensitivity confines.

“Expert advisors have been engaged to manage and oversee the process - legal advice confirms that the process being followed is in compliance with the Local Government Act and its provisions. Independent legal experts (Herbert Smith Freehills) are managing the process and potential transaction and an independent probity advisor (Protiviti) has also been appointed to oversee the process and confirm each decision point.

“The Department of Local Government and Communities were consulted prior to initiating the process and have been engaged throughout the process – they have confirmed that the process is in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act.

“A community meeting will take place at Council Chambers on Monday 17 August at 5.30pm and the item will be discussed at a Special Council Meeting on Tuesday 25 August at 7.30pm.

“I urge everyone to inform themselves and attend our community conversation meeting on Monday.

All factual information released to date and presentations from previous community forums are available on the Town’s website – refer