******** Breaking ******* Media Release from REX at 10:34 June 19th, 2017 REX ACCEPTS APOLOGY FROM BEGA VALLEY SHIRE COUNCIL Regional Express (Rex) has taken note of the apology of the Bega Valley Shire Council for not consulting with Rex prior to releasing a proposal to increase the Merimbula airport passenger head tax for FY 17/18, and its undertaking to withdraw the proposed increase at the next council meeting on 28 June 2017. Rex accepts this apology and welcomes the Mayor’s commitment to work on a 3-year partnership with Rex to improve air services to Merimbula which will deliver greater socioeconomic benefits to the local community and surrounding region. Rex’s General Manager of Network Strategy and Sales Warrick Lodge said, “In the light of the partnership, Rex has decided to proceed with a plan to increase services to Merimbula with an additional 16,000 seats a year. With current annual passenger numbers through Merimbula airport of around 56,000, this represents a very aggressive increase in seat capacity. However, we are confident that this increase will spur economic and tourism activities which in turn will support the additional capacity.” “I will present Rex’s plans to the Bega Valley Shire Council in time for the June 28 council meeting and once approval is given, we can expect this improved schedule to be implemented within 3 months.” Regional Express (Rex) is Australia’s largest independent regional airline operating a fleet of more than 50 Saab 340 aircraft on some 1,500 weekly flights to 58 destinations throughout all states in Australia. In addition to the regional airline Regional Express, the Rex Group comprises wholly owned subsidiaries Pel-Air Aviation (air freight and charter operator), Air Link (Dubbo-based regional airline) and the Australian Airline Pilot Academy Ends. Simply no credibility …. media release from the BVSRRA 18th June.
While the Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association (BVSRRA) is happy to ‘tip its hat’ to Cr McBain for her willingness to ‘step-up’ & apologise for council’s stuff-up over the proposed increase of the airport ‘head tax’, it believes that the apology would have been far more credible if it had been made by the senior council executive responsible & if the explanation offered for the ‘error’ was at least credible.
In confirming that the proposed increase in the passenger landing fee should never have been incorporated in council’s draft 2017-2018 Budget, Cr McBain acknowledged that council was aware of the mistake & had hoped to rectify the error “through a Council meeting process”.
Cr McBain’s explanation is hardly plausible given that the draft budget was placed on public exhibition on May 14th, 2017, the Merimbula News Weekly reported the proposed head tax increase two weeks later on May 30th, while council wrote to Regional Express (Rex) a further two weeks after that on June 13th (only last Tuesday) suggesting that Rex might like to make a submission to council in respect of the draft budget; the day before the window for public submissions closed!
Does council really believe that a professional organisation like Rex is that dumb? Is the community so easily taken in by council’s glib but non-sensical explanations? We don’t think so.
Not content to play ‘fast & loose’ with its self-justification, council openly tries to further deceive both its business partners & the community by alleging that the proposed 4.5% increase in the head tax was in line with the CPI when, in fact, it is actually more than double the annual CPI of 2.1%.
While council will doubtless endeavour to resurrect its ‘relationship’ with Rex (yet again), the reality is that Rex has been shown yet again that council simply cannot be trusted & that it regularly speaks from both sides of its mouth.
The BVSRRA believes that council lacks the relationship & commercial management capabilities & management integrity essential for it to effectively develop & maintain critical relationships with business partners such as Rex.
While Cr McBain has opted to take the fall for council on this occasion, the BVSRRA would argue that the real accountability for this mess rests with a member of council’s highly paid, all but invisible executive group.
However, as the BVSRRA has made clear on numerous occasions, genuine accountability is not only built around recognition & reward for performance, but tangible consequences for non-performance.
Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association
Looking through the fence to see what the neighbours are doing