Commonwealth Government to take action on Launceston Airport dispute

Media Release

PF046/2015

03 December 2015

The Commonwealth Government will take action to resolve the dispute between Launceston Airport and the Northern Midlands Council, Minister for Local Government Paul Fletcher said today.

“I met today with the Northern Midlands Council and the Member for Lyons, Eric Hutchinson MP, to discuss this issue,” Mr Fletcher said.

“In the meeting, I confirmed that the Commonwealth will engage an independent expert to take the following steps:

  • identify the airport sites subject to ex-gratia rates payments according to the Commonwealth's interpretation of the lease provisions;
  • value these areas of the airport in accordance with the methodology used by the State Valuer-General to value areas off-airport;
  • assess the appropriate rate to be applied to the airport sites taking into account the rate applied by the Council to commercial land off-airport; and
  • calculate the appropriate ex-gratia rates payment to be made by the airport to the council.”

Launceston Airport leases the land on which it operates from the Commonwealth.  Under the lease, Launceston Airport must make an ex-gratia payment, in lieu of rates, for all of the airport land except the land used for aeronautical functions.

“The independent expert will provide the Commonwealth with a determination of the amount that Launceston Airport is required to pay to Northern Midlands Council, in accordance with the lease provisions” Mr Fletcher said.

“Once that determination is made—in the first half of 2016—the Commonwealth is confident that Launceston Airport will pay Northern Midlands Council the determined amount.

“I want to acknowledge the vigorous advocacy of the Member for Lyons, Eric Hutchinson MP, who organised today's meeting and has been a determined advocate for the people of his electorate and for Northern Midlands Council on this issue.”