Anthony Albanese is feuding with Max Moore-Wilton over the future of Sydney Airport. Picture: Nic Gibson Source: The Sunday Telegraph
Sydney Airport chairman Max Moore-Wilton and Anthony Albanese cannot agree over the future of Sydney Airport. Picture: Jane Dempster Source: The Daily Telegraph
A BITTER feud between Sydney Airport chairman Max Moore-Wilton and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese over the future needs of Sydney airline passengers has erupted in legal action.
The Sunday Telegraph can reveal Mr Moore-Wilton has launched legal proceedings against Mr Albanese’s demand that Sydney Airport Corporation fast-track a planned upgrade.
Lawyers acting for the corporation served legal papers on Mr Albanese at his Marrickville electorate office on Tuesday, a minute before the office was to close for the day.
The action comes after Mr Albanese brought forward a deadline for Sydney Airport to prepare a new draft master plan from June 2014 to July 2013.
Mr Albanese issued the directive to Sydney Airport under the federal Airports Act 1996 – meaning the corporation could face legal sanctions if it fails to meet the deadline – following a recommendation in the recent federal government 2012 Joint Study on Aviation Capacity in the Sydney Region Report, which warned the existing aviation infrastructure would not cope with growing demand.
It said the draft plan needed to be started immediately to bring forward investments in “terminals, aprons and parking for aircraft”.
But Mr Moore-Wilton has cried foul over the directive, claiming too little notice was given to prepare the plan.
In documents filed with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal on Tuesday, Sydney Airport argues the new date leaves just 420 days for a plan to be developed.
“Save for the receipt of a phone call immediately before receipt of the decision indicating that a decision was about to be sent, Sydney Airport had received no notice of the Minister’s intention to consider making such a decision,” it said.
“Sydney Airport is thus unable meaningfully and properly to comply with the direction by the Minister to it to prepare and submit to the Minister the Draft Master Plan on or before the new deadline.”
Mr Albanese is at war with Mr Moore-Wilton over the chairman’s resistance in embracing the need for a second Sydney Airport.
The Sydney Airport Corporation has first right of refusal on a second airport within 100km of the CBD.
However, the airport believes it can meet increased demand until 2049 under a proposed “make-over”.Mr Moore-Wilton recently told a shareholder meeting that 39 per cent of landing time slots were unused, and blamed delays in planes arriving and departing on government constraints such as a cap on aircraft movements.