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The proponents of privatisation are

June 25th, 2002

The proponents of privatisation are crowing following the recent sale of Sydney Airport for $5.6b. On the other hand, writing in the Australian eight years ago, I asserted that privatisation would mean higher charges, higher taxes or both. Was I right? The profitability of Sydney Airport has increased dramatically. But the increase came as a result of a near doubling in aeronautical charges at the facility. This is on top of increases in all the other charges (parking, concession rentals and so on) and the introduction of a slew of new charges (e.g taxi levies). If the government had kept the airports, the flow of money from these charges would have more than outweighed any savings they will get from repaying debt with the sale proceeds, implying a capacity for lower taxes or more spending in the long run.

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