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Mar 6, 2017

There is more to the Sydney Airport 'rip offs' than costly parking

The annual ritual of having monopoly services overcharging rubbed in the face of airport users is upon us again

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An Emirates A380 no doubt full of Qantas customers, at Sydney Airport

Opinion Calling the world’s greatest Federal Treasurer, Peter Costello. Hello Mr Costello. Your greatest ever deal has just run over the toes of Sydney airport users again. What do you have to say Mr Costello?

It’s that time of year of course when the ACCC annual report into the performance of Australia’s four largest privately owned airports reminds us of the absolute genius of politicians selling a publicly owned asset into the hands of private monopoly owners so that they can screw everyone who uses them because there is no competitive alternative.

The only thorough report into the ACCC’s findings in the media as of this hour is in the Sydney Morning Herald and it concentrates on car parking, since everyone who uses the privately owned rail stations under its terminals pays a gate fee equal to many of the one way bargains offered to Australian cities by Jetstar or Tiger.

You can read the original ACCC report here, but Granny has done the hard work for the time poor in its coverage. This is not just about Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane airports, but the mindset shared by the Coalition and Labor parties when it comes to short term privatisation profits versus the economic future of Australia.

In a tragic sort of way, its the same mindset that totally gutted the national benefit from the development of liquified natural gas and mishandled the privatisation of the the Telecom monopoly and contributed to crippling access to cheaper, and faster, broadband as well as telephony.

We don’t do competition very well. And some of our highest profile supposedly red blooded proponents of business competition, like Dick Smith, want the country to shut itself off in dark room anyhow and revert to the economic primitivism of the Menzies and Fadden era, which was briefly of use to the national interest in the early to mid-1950s.

Today’s news is also a reminder that the owners of Sydney Airport want ‘us’, including the victims of their charging regimes, to subsidise through public funds their exercising a first right of refusal to own and operate a 99 year lease on the only other jet airport greater Sydney is likely to ever get, at the Badgerys Creek site.

This would be an intolerably stupid business plan in most of the free world. But not in ‘oi oi oi’ land. There is a good chance they will get every dollar they want, and we can enjoy being robbed blind at whatever Sydney airport we use in future.

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