Captain Perry McNeil has been trying in vain to build a hangar at the airport.
Captain Perry McNeil has been trying in vain to build a hangar at the airport.

THE FORMER federal secretary of the Australian and

THE FORMER federal secretary of the Australian and International Pilots Association, who is now the instructor of the Prime Minister’s RAAF pilots, says “the Fraser Coast council autocrats have turned Maryborough Airport into a potential shot duck”.

“Yet again the ratepayers of the Fraser Coast are facing more lost business opportunities and more unemployment,” Captain Perry McNeil said yesterday.

He has been trying to get the council’s permission to build a hangar at the airport for almost five years.

“All I have wanted to do is build a tin shed, a small hangar, at either Maryborough or Hervey Bay airports to open a fixed base operation that would employ, over time, up to 30 locals, to initiate a sound certified flying school and be an adjunct to the aviation engineering businesses and other spin off businesses in the region.

“But this council’s poor planning and lack of business skills have cost the Fraser Coast significant commercial and residential projects, including mine. On Thursday I met with my Brisbane lawyers to ascertain what we can do to save this venture.”

Captain McNeil said the council now must attend a mediation conference because it is operating a federal transposed airport.

“I am appalled by the recent misleading statements from the council CEO, Andrew Brien, which indicated that council had supplied all the information I requested. I have received nought from the FCRC to date, except five years of empty promises and a barrel load of frustrations.”

Last week Mr Brien responded to the Chronicle’s emailed questions about the future of the airport, saying the council had written to Mr McNeil last November.

“From the brief details you have advised in relation to your proposal to establish a flying and ground school, I believe these activities could be a valuable addition to the operations of either airport and would welcome provision of further details following the resolution of the current land use study.”

The land use study, which Mr Brien says will be completed this month, is understood to be the fourth council commissioned study on the region’s airports since 2005.

Captain McNeil said he was also waiting for information from the council requested by a colleague under the Right to Information legislation.

“We want to know what formal arrangement the council had with the Federal Government over their acquiring the deed to run the airport.”



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