Turf war erupts at airport
A NEWSAGENCY turf war has erupted at Rockhampton Airport with an affected businessman claiming the place is being run by “hillbilly dictators”.
Airport management has awarded the newsagency contract, from January, to a southern-based company leaving long-term operators Airport News and Gifts out in the cold.
The situation has intensified with the new business to start trading from tomorrow in temporary premises next door to Airport News and Gifts, whose lease runs out at the end of the year.
The Christmas period is the airport’s busiest period.
While the owners of neither newsagency were in a position to talk to The Morning Bulletin yesterday, businessman Peter Della-Bosca slammed airport management.
Peter runs Archer Park Newsagency, which supplies magazines and newspapers in a sub-agent relationship to Airport News and Gifts, and is set to lose out financially from the new deal.
“I am gobsmacked at the unprofessional and un-Australian manner in which airport management has handled these matters in behaving like hillbilly dictators,” Mr Della-Bosca said.
“What irks me is the unconscionable decision to allow the new lessee to commence trading in mid-December in temporary premises.
“The decision also poses more logistical problems, not the least of which is staffing, as staff from Airport News and Gifts have been hired by the new business.”
Yesterday a sign was erected at Airport News and Gifts seeking casual workers.
The airport is owned and operated by Rockhampton Regional Council.
Council yesterday issued a statement which said it had followed a robust tender process in line with the requirements of the Local Government Act.
“The current operator of the Airport News and Gifts was advised of the tender process six months ago, providing ample time for a consultant to be engaged if necessary to assist in their submission,” the statement said.
“However, as the current operator did not submit a tender they could not be considered.”
The statement said as the present lease did not provide an exclusive right to operate, the new operator could start trading tomorrow.
“Comments regarding the supply of goods to the new operator are outside of council’s control and at no time was the council’s intention to cause damage to a local business be that at the airport or elsewhere in the region,” it said.
“To suggest council officers have acted outside legislation and acceptable business practices is nonsense.”