Mayoral candidates Mark Jamieson, Don Innes, Michael Burgess and Chris Thompson at a Sunshine Coast Daily election forum in Maroochydore.
Mayoral candidates Mark Jamieson, Don Innes, Michael Burgess and Chris Thompson at a Sunshine Coast Daily election forum in Maroochydore. Stuart Cumming

Airport debate takes off as hopefuls haggle Mayor

MAYOR Mark Jamieson says he doesn't have the figures of what Palisade paid to lease the Sunshine Coast Airport last year, comments met with jeers, during a fiery debate at Maroochy RSL tonight.

Mayoral candidates turned the blowtorch on the current Sunshine Coast Airport situation, casting doubt over whether the community would see any significant returns in the near future.

Michael Burgess said it wouldn't be an international airport, and declared an international airport "part of the movie set this council has erected".

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Chris Thompson vowed to try and retain a second runway, and ensure the airport was an aviation precinct.

Mr Burgess slammed the broader plans for freight routes into Asia, and expanded tourism access.

"Being positive about a foolish plan is just foolishly positive," he said.

"We won't get tourists and we won't fly anything out."

Cr Jamieson rejected the claims and said council would receive $328 million plus 5 per cent of annual income from Palisade who is leasing the facility for 99 years.

Don Innes questioned why the documents detailing the lease hadn't been released to public.

Mr Burgess asked how much Palisade had paid council for the lease of the airport last year.

"I don't have the number," Cr Jamieson responded.

He said it wasn't uncommon for those details to be held in confidence, comments met with groans from the crowd.

Cr Jamieson said all media at the time hailed the deal as a positive outcome for council and ratepayers.


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