|How Do They Get Away With It - Scam Revealed|
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!