The Town of Port Hedland is proposing a long term lease of the Port Hedland International Airport to better support the future of the Town’s changing economy and its need for a modern airport facility.
Mayor Kelly Howlett said that significant improvements are needed to bring the airport to its full potential, including terminal redevelopment and upgrades to essential services, airside infrastructure and car park and traffic arrangements.
“A well-equipped and technologically advanced airport is essential to our future prosperity – not only to make Port Hedland an even better place to live but also to attract new export based industries and tourism,” she said.
The Town of Port Hedland engaged highly qualified consultants, The Airport Group (TAG), to identify the most efficient way of operating and funding the airport.
The Airport Group have recommended that a long term lease to a private operator will allow for greater economic development opportunities and financial returns, as well as lower operational risks and better access to private investment.
“We believe that a long term lease is the right direction for the future of our airport and will deliver great financial benefits for ratepayers,” Ms Howlett said.
“A long term lease is NOT the same as a sale – the airport will remain a Town of Port Hedland owned asset and we will continue to be involved in strategic decision making.
“What this proposal does mean is simply that the private operator will manage daily operations of the airport, as well as sourcing the funds for its redevelopment – a better alternative to borrowing funds or raising rates.”
“Long term lease arrangements have proven to be successful for a number of local government owned airports on the east coast, bringing ongoing benefits to their local communities, including increased funds for other community projects.”
“This decision will not be made without continued input from The Airport Group and public consultation and we will be working hard to ensure we secure the best deal for our community,” Ms Howlett said.
This proposal is open for public comment – to find out more about what is proposed and to provide comment by 8 June 2015, visit www.porthedland.wa.gov.au
M.J. (MAL) OSBORNE
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
THURSDAY 23 APRIL 2015
Released on behalf of: Town of Port Hedland
For media enquiries: Alison Kenny
Senior Communications Officer
PH: (08) 9158 9355