Sunshine Coast Airport myths
  • Last updated:
  • 22 Jun 2022

 Sunshine Coast Council is responding to myths and inaccurate information regarding:

  • the negotiated commercial agreement with Palisade Investment Partners in relation to the operation of the Sunshine Coast Airport
  • Mayor Jamieson’s role as a Director of LGIAsuper
  • decisions relating to the closure of the former runway 18/36.

Commercial agreement with Palisade Investment Partners

The truth about the Procurement Process conducted by council to select a commercial partner to operate the Sunshine Coast Airport.

The decision in June 2016 by Sunshine Coast Council to seek a commercial partner to operate the Sunshine Coast Airport was based on expert professional advice and market sounding intelligence obtained from council’s specialist Airport infrastructure investment advisor at that time, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) Capital Markets. That advice enabled Council to pursue its objective to facilitate the expansion of the Airport in a way that would be at no enduring cost to the ratepayer. On June 30 this year, that outcome will have been achieved.

In 2016, a comprehensive procurement process was conducted by council to select the commercial partner for the operation of the Airport. The first stage of this process attracted 17 respondents, with 14 respondents invited to participate in the second stage of the process. Palisade Investment Partners was selected through a rigorous assessment process, supported by specialist technical advice. The entire procurement process was overseen by an independent Probity Advisor, Argyle Corporate Advisors.

Palisade Investment Partners is a specialist infrastructure investment manager for a number of superannuation funds, with over $3.2 billion in funds under management (according to its most recent annual report).

Palisade was selected as council’s commercial partner in the operation of the Airport because it offered, by far, the best outcome for the ratepayer - namely a financial investment totalling $372 million that would more than cover the capital cost to deliver the Airport expansion project plus an annual return to council of 5% of gross revenue in the form of an annual lease payment.

All of this information was made public at the time that Palisade was selected as the commercial partner in the operation of the Airport.

Mayor Jamieson’s role as a Director of LGIASuper

The truth about Mayor Jamieson’s role as a Director of LGIAsuper.

Mayor Jamieson became an Employer Nominated Director of LGIAsuper on 1 July 2018 - 18 months after the transaction with Palisade was negotiated. LGIAsuper is one of the superannuation funds that utilises Palisade Investment Partners to manage the investment on behalf of its members’ funds, and has been a client of Palisade’s since 2010. Council understands that LGIAsuper is one of Palisade’s 38 clients, including 25 clients through Palisade’s Diversified Infrastructure Fund which is also an investor in Sunshine Coast Airport.

Mayor Jamieson was nominated to that role by the Board of the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ), consistent with its practice – of more than 40 years – of nominating the LGAQ President as a director of the local government superannuation fund. Mayor Jamieson was not nominated as a Director of LGIAsuper by Palisade and council is advised that Palisade has previously had no role in any governance matters of LGIAsuper.

Nevertheless, since that time, Mayor Jamieson has consistently declared a conflict of interest as required by the Local Government Act 2009 and not participated in any debate or decision-making by Council on matters relating to the Sunshine Coast Airport.

Closure of the former runway 18/36

The truth about Council’s consideration of the Sunshine Coast Airport Master Plan and the former Runway.

The 2019 Sunshine Coast Airport Master Plan, which was developed by Sunshine Coast Airport Pty Ltd and considered by council on 17 October 2019, is not a land use plan and did not confer any additional development entitlements on the Sunshine Coast Airport.

The decisions relating to the closure of former Runway 18/36 relate entirely to the safe and efficient operation of the Sunshine Coast Airport. They have nothing to do with enabling the area of former Runway 18/36 to be redeveloped for residential purposes. In any event, no such development proposal exists and nor would such a proposal (if it did exist) be supported by council.