ACT News


Taxpayers to fund new airport fire station

ACT taxpayers will pay for a new fire station for Canberra Airport's retail and business park as well as surrounding suburbs, according to Emergency Services Minister Simon Corbell.

A spokeswoman for Mr Corbell declined to say whether the airport, which is on Commonwealth land, would contribute to the cost, instead saying ''capital funding would need to be considered as part of a future budget process''.

A spokesman for Treasurer Andrew Barr could not comment on the question of rates the airport paid to the ACT government.

The Canberra Times revealed on Wednesday that the ACT Emergency Services Agency and the airport thought vacant land in Pialligo was ideal for a new fire station, and it was one of several suggested sites.

Pialligo residents say the government has been ''surprisingly secretive'' about the fire station, which came to light when ESA responded to a draft master plan.

Mr Corbell said on ABC radio on Wednesday that although the airport had its own fire station, this was for aircraft, while the ACT had a responsibility to provide adequate, timely responses to other fires at the airport.


He ruled out using airport land for a fire station because the station would serve ACT suburbs.

The new fire station's primary response area would cover areas including Campbell, Pialligo, Russell, Majura, Fairbairn, Brindabella Business Park, Duntroon, Fyshwick and central Canberra.

As planning minister, Mr Corbell previously attacked what he described as ''unchecked'' development at the airport because of its impact on the wider ACT community.

In 2006 he said: ''I have previously said that I think airports are overall behaving as rogue developers and are not taking account of the planning framework that is in place for the communities in which they are located.

''Already we can see how the office and retail development at the Canberra Airport is affecting transport and roads, as well as retail and commercial development in the city.''

The ACT government agreed last year to sell land at Pialligo directly to the airport for $265,000.

The 3125-square-metre block comprises four parcels left behind when the airport co-funded an upgrade of Pialligo Avenue.

The works realigned the original road to accommodate a grade-separated intersection and resulted in four residual parcels, of varying sizes, being left over between Pialligo Avenue and the airport.

The airport contributed $7 million to the improvements, almost matching the territory's $7.5 million.