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Albanese on Snowtown

By 24 April 2008 20

The Right Honourable Anthony Albanese MP, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, yada, yada, yada, has released this press statement stating the conditions for Terry Snow’s continued ‘CANBERRA AIRPORT OFFICE DEVELOPMENT’ which the rest of us call Snowtown.

Besides listing which roads are to be paid for by whom and when the main bit of interest for myself was section 3 in the Conditions for Ministerial Approval;

Prior to the sub-leasing of the development, CIA must seek advice from the ACT Government and/or ACTION as to whether the ACT Government or ACTION will provide an adequate bus service for the Majura Park Precinct. If the ACT Government or ACTION advises that no adequate bus service will be provided, for the Majura Park Precinct, CIA must ensure that, from the time the Development starts to be occupied, the Majura Park Precinct will be serviced by, and will continue to be serviced by, an adequate bus service.

If the ACT Government/ACTION ceases to provide an adequate bus service for the Majura Park Precinct, CIA must ensure that, from the time the ACT Government/ACTION cease to provide Majura Park Precinct with an adequate bus service, the Majura Park Precinct will be serviced by, and will continue to be serviced by, an adequate bus service.

In this Condition, ‘adequate bus service’ means a bus service which connects the Majura Park Precinct with Civic:
(a) at times which enable reasonable connectivity with other bus services both at the airport site and to and from Civic; and
(b) at intervals sufficient to meet demand, in particular during peak morning and afternoon/evening periods.

So Snow has got to ask if the Govt/ACTION is going to run buses out there and if they don’t he has to. And if they do and then pike then he has to.

Not that i want to sound like I’m in favour of Snow but it sounds like he has a raw deal here. Surely public transport is a Government issue and he shouldn’t have to foot the bill if the Government is too lazy or incompetent to provide a decent service.

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20 Responses to Albanese on Snowtown
#1
Jonathon Reynolds10:15 am, 24 Apr 08

The Airport a privately owned office development estate. It is a fair and reasonable development condition.

#2
ant10:19 am, 24 Apr 08

Usually, yes, it is a government issue. However, when a privateer suddenly builds a commercial, or residential, development right off his own bat, with no involvement of government planners, then no he has no right to expect the government to scramble to support him.

The airport thumbed its nose at the government and built a business district in an area without the infrastructure to support it. This has caused massive problems, and the airport knew that at some point, the government would have to do something about it ie build roads.

The airport owners have shown that they have little regard for due process or anyone else’s rights or interests, therefore the government would be foolish not to set up some mechanisms whereby they can exercise control over the airport’s impact on the area in future.

#3
Deano10:41 am, 24 Apr 08

ant said :

Usually, yes, it is a government issue. However, when a privateer suddenly builds a commercial, or residential, development right off his own bat, with no involvement of government planners, then no he has no right to expect the government to scramble to support him.

If we following this line of reasoning the Queensland Investment Corporation should be held responsible for the traffic and transport problems in Civic and the land developers in Gunghalin should have funded the GDE.

ant said :

The airport owners have shown that they have little regard for due process or anyone else’s rights or interests, therefore the government would be foolish not to set up some mechanisms whereby they can exercise control over the airport’s impact on the area in future.

Sorry but where is the evidence that the airport owners have not followed due process? If anything this press statement shows that the airport is following due process. Remember the airport land, being Commonwealth land, is under federal government control – not ACT government control. If that is a problem, take it up with the federal government.

As for not having regard for anyone else’s interests, they are not responsible for your happiness.

#4
sepi10:46 am, 24 Apr 08

The airport has actively restricted buses in the past, by charging them the 2.00 levy they charge taxis. They have built huge buildings, and forced the workers to pay exorbitant parking fees.

It is about time the government stepped in.

#5
Jonathon Reynolds11:04 am, 24 Apr 08

@Deano

The ACT Government had full control (from a local planning perspective) on the QIC Canberra Centre.
The development that has occurred out at the Airport was undertaken under the auspices of the Airport Corporations Act. This legislation has scant regard for the resultant infrastructure impacts on the Territory.

#6
p111:13 am, 24 Apr 08

If we following this line of reasoning the Queensland Investment Corporation should be held responsible for the traffic and transport problems in Civic and the land developers in Gunghalin should have funded the GDE.

Except that the ACT government planned Gunghalin, and approved all plans for office development in Civic. Snowtown has happened specifically because they didn’t need ACT approval. Personally, I think that the ACT should build a toll road for the few metres connecting the Queenbeyan road to the airport.

If anything this press statement shows that the airport is following due process.

Only if they happily provide buses as per this condition.

#7
ant12:39 pm, 24 Apr 08

As others have pointed out: civic and the gunghalin town centre were zoned for their purpose, gov’t set up infrastructure, and the entities that built there had to satisfy planning regulations and work with teh government.

Snow built his CBD in defiance of the local gov’t that had not zoned the airport for a CBD, shopping precinct or anything but an airport. The gov’t was then expected to run around and spend money it hadn’t budgeted for, to fix infrastructure after the fact.

That the ACT (and Federal) goverment is now working to prevent being railroaded and blind-sided again is good news to the taxpayers. I just hope they consider all the ways in which the airport can get out of this bus requirement, and block off any loopholes.

#8
sepi2:11 pm, 24 Apr 08

the FEderal govt shouldn’t be as easy to snow as the poor little local pollies.

#9
imhotep2:46 pm, 24 Apr 08

Deano said :

As for not having regard for anyone else’s interests, they are not responsible for your happiness.(Deano)

Yes, however the government is responsible for our ‘happiness’, and it sounds like they have learned from past mistakes with this kind of development.

#10
Deano4:17 pm, 24 Apr 08

Jonathon Reynolds said :

The development that has occurred out at the Airport was undertaken under the auspices of the Airport Corporations Act. This legislation has scant regard for the resultant infrastructure impacts on the Territory.

Precisely. I don’t see how you can blame the airport owners for making the most of the opportunity that was made available. If you don’t like the outcome then complain to the people responsible for creating the opportunity in the first place.

p1 said :

Personally, I think that the ACT should build a toll road for the few metres connecting the Queenbeyan road to the airport.

Yeah right, penalise the 3,000 people who work there – that’ll teach em.

Deano said :

If anything this press statement shows that the airport is following due process.

Only if they happily provide buses as per this condition.

Like they have been previously providing buses to the airport and business park when Action declined to do so.

sepi said :

They have built huge buildings, and forced the workers to pay exorbitant parking fees.

Rubbish! Parking at Brindabella Park and Fairbairn is $5 per day, which is the same as the government charges for Woden, Belconnen and Brindabella. The airport offers significantly better discounts for prepaid parking tickets than the government does – nearly $500 cheaper on an annual pass. Not only that, but much of the parking is undercover and you are only charged a partial fee if you don’t stay the full day.

#11
imhotep4:28 pm, 24 Apr 08

All valid points there Deano, but the fact remains that Snow has pocketed a profit from the airport development while commuters suffer and taxpayers pick up the tab for the infrastructure required.

The Snow family is justified in maximising their opportunities, but the government is also justified in requiring developers to contribute to the social costs of that development.

#12
sepi8:31 pm, 24 Apr 08

The govt charges high prices for Woden and Belco parking, as the parking is in demand from shoppers who go there because of all the amenities.

This is not the case with the airport parking.

#13
Jonathon Reynolds9:43 pm, 24 Apr 08

@imhotep

imhotep said :

… the government is also justified in requiring developers to contribute to the social costs of that development.

For any other development around town that would be and normally is the situation.

#14
Deano9:56 pm, 24 Apr 08

The short stay parking at Civic, Woden, Tuggeranong and Belconnen is predominately privately owned and they charge considerably more than $5 for a full day’s parking.

imhotep said :

The Snow family is justified in maximising their opportunities, but the government is also justified in requiring developers to contribute to the social costs of that development.

Totally agree. Whilst all this anger is directed at the airport owners, the people who caused the problem in the first place, namely the government that sold the land for a song, get away blame free. Honestly, what idiots thought that if they sold off large blocks of land in prime city locations the buyers would only use it for aeronautical purposes.

#15
Aeek10:05 pm, 24 Apr 08

the Feds sold off the airports, blame the Howard Feds and the NCA not the local govt.

#16
iamspam9:24 am, 25 Apr 08

the Feds sold off the airports, blame the Howard Feds and the NCA not the local govt.

The problem isn’t so much that the airports were sold off. Indeed this was a plan which probably stretches its way back to the Keating days. What stinks is giving planning and development control to a semi-literate National Party Transport Minister, who ran a department with no comprehension, background, or even basic concern for urban planning. Not even NCA got a say in what went on out there, because all approval comes straight from the Minister’s office. And I’m sure that John Anderson and Mark Vaile were more than happy to sign their names with an ‘x’ on the relevant dotted line in the name of boosting business.

From his statements above, it looks like Albanese’s doing the best that he can do in trying to provide a basic level of services out at Snowtown, but unless airports are integrated into the local planning system, there’s always going to be chaos. We see similar problems in Sydney, with MacBank wanting to build 7 storey retail developments at the airport, actually jeopardising aviation safety in an attempt to scoop added value.

The NCA just this week agreed to hand over large parts of Canberra back to ACTPLA because two planning systems is one too many. Surely it’s time for DoTARS, DITRDLG, or whatever they’re called these days, to realise the same thing and close Snow’s rentseeking loopholes.

#17
ant10:56 am, 25 Apr 08

“iamspam” makes many good points. The airport was not subject to any planning reules by our local gov’t, OR by the NCA. The people who might have exercised some control and ensured that development was responsible and didn’t cause hardship to others did not care and as far as I can tell, exercised no control whatsoever.

Now the Canberra taxpayer has to foot the bill, which means that other activities that might have been undertaken by the ACT gov’t have to wait. And any kind of overall plan for the Territory is skewed out of shape forever.

Just to line the pockets of one man.

#18
OpenYourMind21:25 pm, 25 Apr 08

To top it all off, for those working at Fairbairn there is no public transport and the feeder road is very dangerous to cycle on. It’s very unfair on staff who had no say in the move to Fairbairn and who are unable or choose not to drive a car.

Snowtown still gets high environmental ratings on the buildings, partly because they have cycling facilities such as showers and bike racks, never mind that the buildings are unsafe to cycle to.

#19
ant1:56 pm, 25 Apr 08

The intersection into Fairbairn is also bloody dangerous for those turning against the traffic to get out (ie, heading back into Canberra). There was a big smash there the other morning. Getting out on a bike would be scary.

Has anyone seen that old bloke who rides along that road (Pialligo ave) every day? Dressed in very old-fashioned bloke clothes (shorts and long socks etc). I worry for him. There’s so many aggro lunatics on that road.

#20
heinous8:04 am, 26 Apr 08

I have a question, does Snowtown pay Rates to the ACT Government which pays for roads/buses etc?

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