The Prime
Minister is set to open a new Federal Court building in Adelaide tomorrow – but all the local
media focus is on how he will arrive, not on the visit itself.

The
Australian
has been tracking a local embarrassment for some time and the 7:30 Reportcovered it on Monday – the saga of Adelaide Airport.

Domestic
airline passengers to Adelaide turn up at a 1950s building that
has been extended. And extended. And extended. And patched up. And extended.
And patched up. On the cheap. There are
no aerobridges. Passengers still walk across the tarmac. The rest of the
facilities – from bars to bathrooms – are basic.

A new $260
million terminal was officially opened last October – by the Prime Minister. The
aircraft refuelling pipelines that service it, however, are contaminated, so it
hasn’t come into service.

A number
of revised opening dates have come and gone. Now no-one can say when the new
terminal will be functioning.

The
airport is privately owned, and on Commonwealth land – but the matter is a
severe embarrassment to the state government, with an election six weeks away.

Naturally,
the saga of the airport has been a delight for local media, short of stories
over the slow summer months.

The
Adelaide Advertiser staged a spectacular stunt, where it plonked down
life-sized cardboard cut-outs of Premier Mike Rann and the Prime Minister in
the deserted new terminal.

But it’s
time for a new twist to the story – so the photographers and camera crews can’t
wait to see just where and how the PM alights at Adelaide.

Peter Fray

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