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The Masterful 2015 Moorabbin Airport Plan - Nasty Fluff and Opportunity!
How Do They Get Away With It - Scam Revealed
Detailed Analysis

As we inspect the 2015 Moorabin Airport Master Plan we are caused to ask a number of questions.  Firstly how has it become possible for a private business like the Moorabbin Airport Corporation to operate outside normal property development guidelines?  What relationship does it have the local Council which a few years ago was chomping at the bit to have the excess airport activity relocated, and yet is now strangely docile?  Does the Council passivity have anything to do with the partisan ambitions held by a number of the current Counselors?  Quick inspection of the membership and backgrounds reveals that several members of Council appear to be more interested in stepping up to State Parliament than representing the local community.  And it doesn’t take much imagination to see how this would calm the otherwise raw passion of our elected local representatives who probably see fatter pay cheques paving the way to dwellings far from the noise and crashes.

But the issue is much bigger than self serving motives.  It extends to that age old issue of allowing private businesses with strong profit motives to administer sensitive public assets.  In many ways it is laughable that the property developer Moorabbin Airport Corporation prepares its own Master Plan.  It's open to public scrutiny you say.  So what?  When in the last twenty years did the community position on aviation get taken seriously?  What do we have to show for public scrutiny and consultation?  Oh yes, a fly neighbourly program which (to quote recent correspondence with Air Services Australia) is not ignored, it's just not adhered to! (Study finds 60% of aircraft ignore it).  Oh and there are those quarterly consultation meetings at the airport, but who runs them?  And the Aviation Noise Ombudsman selected from the ranks of aviation bureaucrats.  Doesn’t it seem strange that there is no publically funded body which carries the community perspective on aviation, its operations, public safety and the environment. For everyone else there are bodies like the EPA.  The aviation model is akin to the EPA being run by coal mines and woodchip companies.

It's not hard to come away from reading of the Master Plan thinking the airport will be handing out soup and buns to the impoverished local economy.   All sorts of wild and unsubstantiated statements are made about the so called positive impacts the aerodrome will have for the people - bless them all!  The Moorabbin Airport Corporation (MAC) actually has the gall to take credit for an unseen contribution of 5% to the local employment statistics.  How does it come by this number, well that's a good question? If you did have access to the copywriter's tray you'd find that the figure is based on a count of heads i.e. the people who will eventually be housed by the airport developments MAC rents out.  Of course most of the heads are not net contributions, they are relocations.  Relocations from failed local retail operations crushed by the box warehouses popping up at the airport, drive in/drive out relocations of workers who commute from other white collar suburbs to work at their company office, relocations of pilots and trainers who would otherwise operate out of other more suitable airports and so forth.  There are few genuine acts of employment creation at the airport, it is a model based on pillage and opportunism.  

The Master Plan waxes lyrical about all the good happenings outside the airport fences but makes no effort to provide a balanced and ethical perspective. Frankly it's insulting, but they seem to be getting away with it.  Unfortunately the cheat sheet for how to prepare a Master Plan offers little hope. There's nothing in it requiring the Moorabbin Airport Corporation to have its fanciful stories audited and almost nothing requiring the corporation to take a broader social outlook and proper social responsibility. Of course when we say "responsibility" we mean real responsibility not lip service.

Not even the most fundamental data in the Airport Master Plan, like the noise and aircraft movement figures, are stress tested for accuracy and practical implications.  And even if they were, it's just FYI; ethics, fair play and logic stand aside, the local environment is heading for an even harder pounding.  Get out while you can - they like that, it's a form of business natural selection  - a more politically correct term than bullying and those people left behind tend to be weaker and less vocal - bonus!

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