Labor’s Regional Development Minister is refusing to release critical funds needed to finish the long-awaited upgrade of the Busselton-Margaret River Airport terminal.
During an estimates hearing at State Parliament today, the Transport Minister confirmed there was $9.5 million in the Budget for the project yet it required the tick of approval from Alannah MacTiernan.
Transport spokesperson Vince Catania said Minister MacTiernan’s refusal to release the funds was hurting the economy of the South West.
“The BMRA project was on time and on budget prior to Labor coming to office in 2017,” Mr Catania said.
“There is $60 million worth of infrastructure on the ground already and attracting major airlines to fly direct into the South West hinges on the terminal upgrade.
“The McGowan Government moved the goal posts halfway through the project.
“By ripping out the last bit of required funding, they are deliberately undermining the project.”
South West MLC Colin Holt said it was disappointing the Member for Bunbury was refusing to stand up for the project he once championed as a game changer for the entire South West.
“In 2017 the former CEO of the South West Development Commission, Don Punch, based his election campaign on successfully working with State and Federal Government to drive development of the Busselton-Margaret River Airport,” Mr Holt said.
“People in Mr Punch’s electorate are losing out due to these prolonged delays, which is costing jobs and jeopardising tourism growth in the region.”
Mr Holt said money for the project had been in the Budget since 2016.
“People are getting sick and tired of hearing excuses about funding cuts and shortfalls to the regions being a budget repair measure,” he said.
“The McGowan Government is gloating about having a budget surplus yet won’t fund a vital region-building project such as the upgrade of the Busselton-Margaret River Airport terminal.”