Presidents Report

VCAT

I was hoping by now we would have received the long awaited decision from VCAT on our declarations application. As a recap, we have asked VCAT to consider our permits and confirm our understanding of the conditions and restriction we must observe.

The second declaration is an application asking VCAT to acknowledge our existing use rights, that is, where we have undertaken activities for more than 15 years without a formal directive to stop.  This is what we established with the Church Hour application to allow us to fly on Sunday mornings between 0930 – 1030.

We are hopeful VCAT will respond soon and give us a favourable outcome and put an end to the anti-airport lobby group’s attacks and accept we have a right to lawfully continue to operate.

 Staff

Over the past few months some of our instructors have moved on to take up wonderful jobs across the commercial aviation organisations. I receive great pleasure is seeing the younger instructors moving into commercial pilot roles after learning to fly with PAC and then making their way through as instructors.

 Kellie has accepted a new role as GM at Microflite and will be finishing up at PAC in a couple of weeks. She has done a wonderful job for us and improved processes within flight ops to ensure our compliance and efficiencies are maintained. We all wish Kellie well in her next role as she continues to move onward and upward.

Committee

The Committee term is fast coming to a close with the AGM approaching and we are on the lookout for some new talent to join the committee. PAC has been built upon volunteers and their commitment to make this a special place for aviators to learn, share and grow.

 All of us, including myself, have benefited from being a Committee member. I was motivated to join the committee to hopefully pay some of my experiences forward so others who follow me can enjoy PAC as much as I have.

If you have been thinking about joining the Committee, now is your chance to put up your hand and become part of the Club management team and help build upon the work others have done before. If you are interested, I would like to hear from you and invite you to touch base and  discuss how you can be of service.

Costs

It’s clear that the economic stability we have enjoyed is about to go through a cycle of higher costs for all goods and services. We have experienced a dramatic increase in fuel costs, which impacts our aircraft hire
rates as well as all other commodities we consume.

We have begun reviewing the costs to operate aircraft quarterly as the lag of waiting 6 or 12 months is unsustainable. In any event, we look to keeping price increases to a minimum and only pass on what we must.

We are still doing all we can to reduce our expenditures and keep operations lean as it is sensible to achieve the lowest cost operating environment and continue to bring members great value.

 

President Jack

Presidents Report

Merry Christmas to all our members and friends of PAC.

This year has become a year to remember. Owing to COVID, it has also been a year to remember for all of the resilience shown by the team in Flight Ops who have had to navigate the club through the on again off again disturbance of the lockdowns. It is now pleasing to see that despite the interruptions people’s enthusiasm is still here.

At the beginning of December, it was wonderful to see many familiar faces at our pre-Christmas functions at the Toy Run and our annual Christmas Party. It was clear that no one at the Club, or from the community, had forgotten Christmas and they came out in force to support the Toy Run, which was coordinated with the Antique Aeroplane Association.

All in all we have had a remarkable year and have emerged from the fog in great shape, poised for a better year in 2022. Whilst we have spent many months in legal battles with the Shire in VCAT we have been vindicated on each occasion. We actively joined the fight with the community to stop the Lifestyle Village development in Stuart Road. We hope to finally put all of the legal issues to bed next year,bringing an end to the Shire’s disruptive actions that started in May of 2019, and move into a more settled period.

Despite shortages of materials and lock downs we managed to build four new club hangars to provide undercover parking for our members. This initiative has been one of long standing and financially future proofs the club with income that we can put back into the day to day running of the club and member services. There are many to thank but Peter Cutting has been the standout in this instance in leading the building project and he needs to be recognised for all of his efforts.

Our school is going from strength to strength under excellent leadership from both Kellie and Gerard. We have some new faces in our staff ranks to fill the gaps in the demand for more training. It would be remiss of me not to mention and recognise David Bell’s retirement this year and thank him for his many years of dedication and service to PAC as our RAA CFI and Grade 1 instructor.

I must also thank our committee who volunteer their services to the Club and members for another outstanding year in what can only be described as a challenge. All of the committee, and including the sub-committees that support the socials and other events, I thank you all for the ongoing work you do for the members and the club.

As always, at this time of year and our minds look to holidays, please be extra safe, as many of us have not had the same amount of airtime as in most years. If you feel a little rusty, you probably are, and you should consider booking a quick check flight with an instructor and making the wise investment in yourself and your family.

Have a Merry Christmas and hope 2022 brings everyone peace, health and happiness.

President Jack

Presidents Report – 21/22 AGM

2022 AGM – Presidents Report

Members

A club is nothing without its members and their support and willingness to work collectively towards a common goal.
I feel fortunate that members have allowed me to sit in the left hand seat for the past 5 years to do my part in building a better and stronger club for the members and our future.

There are so many people to thank for the commitment and support, many often do things quietly and without fanfare or public acknowledgement, these are the true clubmen and women of PAC, the ones that pay it forward for no other reason than to help others.

Over the past 3 years we have gone through, what I think, has probably been the most challenging times in our history, with COVID and the unjustified attacks by the Shire. To name just a couple. Yet every member has stood up and supported me and the Committee to carry on and work our way through these difficult time.

Thank you to one and all of your resilience, patience and loyalty in making this club the best aero club in Australia.

VCAT
Lifestyle:
During the last 12 months we have been preoccupied with a number of matters. One of which was the Lifestyle development decision which was handed down in our favour, where we stopped the development of an over 50’s housing development that would have allowed hundreds of homes to be built between the Airport and the Tyabb rail line.
Special thanks to many of the Committee and our members who lodged a formal objection to the development. PAC barrister, Ragu Appudurai, deserves deep thanks for the focus and guidance he provided to help resolve this matter.

Permit Declarations:
During May of 2019 the MPSC, without warning, issued notices across the Airport for all operation to stop, as they claimed we were operating illegally and did not have valid permits.
This set in train a process of VCAT hearings to prove otherwise and culminated in a 5 day hearing in March 2022 in which the Tribunal was asked to give clarity on our permit conditions and our right to exist.
In October this year, the verdict made clear that under planning laws we are an Airport and have always been an Airport and that all we do today, and previously, has been lawful.

This outcome will forevermore allow PAC and this airport to exist with the full protection of planning law. Once again my deepest thanks to PAC’s barrister Ragu Appadurai, Judy Pay and everyone that played a part in us winning our application.

Airshow
During COVID we unfortunately had to make the call to not run the 2022 airshow. Whilst we came out of COVID lockdown on October 21, we were unable to secure a guarantee from the State Government to obtain a permit to operate.
It was decided that it was an unacceptable risk to commit to this event given the COVID uncertainty at the time. Hopefully COVID is past us and we will run our next airshow in 2024.

Private Radar
During the year we introduced a new flight training and booking system, which also supports aircraft maintenance records, flight and duty hours for instructors as well as student records.
Private Radar also interfaces with the CASA auditing systems. Additionally,the new system has provided a new point of sale function, and willover-time, be upgraded to manage more direct interface systems for students.
It has been a mammoth task in undertake a full process mapping exercise, go to tender and finally select a suitable system.
Furthermore, we have also incorporated a new safety management system to manage our complaints, safety issues and incidents in a fully compliant way. I need to thank Tony Docherty for heading up our safety management team, which is supported by Judy Pay, Rick Taylor and Gerard Lappin.

Infrastructure
Our new Club Hangars were fully completed during the financial year, which has been a remarkable project achievement by Peter Cutting considering the impacts of COVID, lack of trades people and materials.
This project will provide PAC members with a place to house their aircraft and will generate an income stream for PAC for years to come.
Additionally, the new Tractor Shed was completed under the project management of Peter Cutting, despite a VCAT hearing and many challenges to get the project off the ground.

Fuel Prices
Owing to COVID, global geopolitical instability and impacts from shipping and refining capacity we have seen wild increases in fuel prices.
The impact of fuel increases has caused us to put in place an escalator to adjust the price of aircraft hire so as to recognise the cost changes, which thankfully are now starting to decrease.
We anticipate price fluctuations will continue for a while yet and as such we need to maintain this escalator for the time being and will review the aircraft costs every 3 months.

CASA/RAA/COVID Submissions
We made three significant submissions to CASA, with regards to proposals around medical reviews and classes.
A response to Avalon Airspace and the proposed changes to E Class airspace, where we have opposed the notion of removing E class airspace, as this will put further pressure on the shrinking corridor north of Point Cook and around the bottom of the Bay.
We also provided a response to changes to airspace over Mangalorefollowing the tragic mid-air collision. It seems that no change is the Airsevices Australia recommendation.

We also made several submissions to both the RAA and CASA seeking support to allow pilots to fly their aircraft to meet Airworthy Bulletin AWB 85 – 021 requirements, which successfully allowed pilots an exemption under the COVID restriction to fly aircraft for 1 hour every 30 days.

Costs/profit
During COVID PAC needed to tighten its belt to manage costs, as we were closed for 24% of the total financial year without income.
The Treasurer and others did a remarkable job in keeping our costs down, as well as find ways to reduce our expenditure.
Ian Johnson was instrumental in managing our costs and renegotiated new insurance arrangement which gave us better coverage at a lower cost.
I am very proud of the Committee and the Staff in helping us get through what proved to be a catastrophic financial period for many.

New Fences
During the year we entered into an agreement to allow cattle to use the 8 acres at the southern end of the N/S Runway.
This helped us manage the fire risk, where we were at jeopardy of having a fire notice issued along with a fine.
As part of the arrangement, new fences and gates were provided along the length of the E/W runway, as well as fences in the south/west corner of our property.
Additionally, some trees along the fence line were removed to reduce obstacles and a fire hazard.

Staff & Committee
I must thank the staff and the committee for their support to me over the past 5 years I have served as President.
I constantly watch so many on the committee give so much of their time and expertise in helping to keep this club alive and well.
Despite the challenges of the past few years with COVID, the committee do their utmost to serve the members and the Club.
Equally the staff have done a remarkable job under the leadership of our HOO and Ops Manager to bring a first class operation to members.
We have almost as many members now as we did at the start of COVID and are the envy of GA Aero Clubs around Australia in that we continue to grow and develop.
Whilst it’s time for me to step down and allow others to carry on the work, I feel confident that we have the scale and the depth to continue to move the Club forward into the rest of the 21st century with a bigger and brighter future.

Jack Vevers

Presidents Report

Dear Members,

As always there’s never a dull moment with the goings on at PAC as we continue to navigate around snap lockdowns, flying operations, VCAT and our club improvement programmes.

COVID
As we continue to live with the effects of snap lockdowns and restrictions during COVID, I must congratulate the staff and members for their understanding and compliance with the rules.
To some extent, we seem to have fallen into a pattern of understanding and have good plans in place to shut down efficiently and safely and then quickly show our agility to restart and get back to work. We owe a lot of this good planning to our Ops Manage Kellie and our HOO Gerard.
Nevertheless, it’s hard on everyone and no-one more than the instructors with both personal and financial disruption to their lives. Please keep this in mind when making a booking make sure you keep the booking as late cancellations can often hit the pockets of the instructors.

Building Development
Our new club hangars have started to fill with aircraft which is pleasing to finally see happen. We decided to have the floors painted, whilst an expensive exercise, it finishes off what are a set of very well constructed hangars that will serve the club well into the future. There are a few spots left so do not hesitate to enquire if you are looking for to house your pride and joy in a safe location out of the weather.

You will also notice the tractor shed has been completed, which has allowed us to move our tractors and grass management gear over to the new shed. This will not only protect our very expensive equipment but free up a much needed hangar spot for a member.

We need to thank Peter Cutting for managing the building development projects which he has been doing for PAC over many years.

New Committee Member
Ilona Patient has come onto the Committee as Assistant Treasurer. Ilona has a background in accounting and runs a successful bookkeeping business and therefore brings a wealth of accounting knowledge. Ilona has already successfully introduced Xero accounting systems to the club, from our previous software, as we look to invest in new management and flight booking platforms.

VCAT
Many of you will have seen the Shire’s press release on their website and other publications about them welcoming PAC’s application to VCAT. As previously stated, PAC is seeking a declaration as to our permits as well as recognition of our existing use rights, thereby acknowledging all of our airport operations being lawful by virtue of the fact that we have been operating as an airport for almost 60 years.
Friday 13th Aug is the day that the Shire must provide their Statement of Grounds, which will give us insight into their alignment, or otherwise, to our declaration application.

Please be aware that Friday the 13th August is your last day to make your own application or simply write a letter to VCAT stating that you are in support of PAC’s application.

There are 3 options to make a submission to VCAT in support of PAC:
1 Make a full submission with a Statement of Grounds where you can take part in the hearing;
2 make a statement of grounds without opting to take part in the hearing; or
3 write to the tribunal simply stating your thoughts and support for PAC’s application for a Declaration on our permits.

We also received good news that the Shire has written to the Minister and withdrawn the application to amend the current zoning use of the airport. Furthermore the Minister has approved, and now made law, a correction to the typo that was in our planning scheme, which now makes airport operations a permittable use. This withdrawal, and more importantly, the correction to the Planning Scheme effectively ends the Shire’s arguments of the original dispute and the cause of stop work notices, albeit we say were never based in supportive fact or law.

Some more good news recently, is the Shire has granted PAC’s a 5 years unconditional secondary consent in allowing emergency aircraft to use the airport. Furthermore we have been granted 5 year Secondary Consent approval to run an airshow without the need for any additional permits other than a Place of Public Entertainment, which has always been acceptable to PAC. This is a good outcome for the club and I thank Cr Mercurio and the CEO (John Baker) for advocating this successful outcome.

Lastly on VCAT matters, we have yet to hear from the Tribunal about our costs claim against the Shire for their withdrawal of their enforcement application, hopefully this will be resolved over the next few months. We are still waiting on a decision regarding the Lifestyle Village which was heard more than 3 months ago.

The Flying Café
Over the past few weeks we have been trialling a mobile food van in our carpark, which appears to have been a fantastic success for members, the community and the owners of the cafe. The café owners tell me they will be running monthly specials on different fillings along with their pulled pork rolls and other popular yummy eats. I reckon when summer comes around, we’ll see this becoming a popular spot for many. Personally, I have to say their coffee is fabulous and I look forward to escaping after lockdown and heading down for a coffee with everyone.

Airshow 2022
Many of you will already be aware we have decided not to run the 2022 airshow owing to the impacts of COVID. It was becoming apparent the many requirements to comply with a State COVID plan were becoming beyond our capabilities and would require significant costs, which would eat into the funds we would have available for charities. Of equal concern, was that any potential of a COVID lockdown either in Victoria or even NSW, where we rely upon many of our aircraft and pilots, would result in a financial disaster for PAC.
However we are still committed to helping our community with a charity event and are looking to run a couple of smaller open day events during 2022. I have spoken with all of our key sponsors and they are in complete alignment and have committed to remain onboard with us to support smaller, lower risk events.

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