The Nationals WA Senate Candidate Kado Muir has welcomed a $9.78 million funding pledge from the Coalition Government to support the expansion of the Busselton-Margaret River Airport.
Mr Muir said the commitment came on the back of a $45.9 million investment by Royalties for Regions in 2015, as well as $10 million from the State Government’s Regional Airports Development Scheme and a $3.5 million commitment from the City of Busselton to expand the airport and allow it the capacity to provide direct interstate flights.
“This major project will link Busselton and Margaret River, as the gateway to the South West Region, with the rest of Australia,” Mr Muir said.
“The South West is one of our premier tourism destinations, with picturesque scenery, stunning beaches, and world-class events such as the Margaret River Gourmet Escape, Drug Aware Pro and Cinefest Oz attracting visitors from across Australia.”
While the initial scope of the airport upgrade will target interstate visitors, Mr Muir said there was potential for the Busselton-Margaret River Airport to attract international visitors from Asian markets.
“It’s a wonderful outcome, providing regional WA with an essential piece of transport infrastructure which will bring benefits to the entire South West Region, made possible by Royalties for Regions and the Federal Government working together.”
The project will see the purchase of land, the lengthening and widening of the runway and the expansion of the car park and terminal to enable the airport to cater for direct interstate aviation services. The additional Federal Government funding is expected to provide opportunities for international freight traffic, including an additional 120m of runway (taking the total runway length to 2,460m) and construction of a General Aviation Precinct.
“This would open opportunities for the South West’s agriculture, horticulture and wine-making regions to access new and developing export opportunities in international markets,” Mr Muir said.
Federal Minister for Regional Development Fiona Nash made the funding pledge this week, saying the project would help to support the economy and create jobs in the South West.
“As Minister for Regional Development I aim to build the kinds of regional, rural and remote communities our children and grandchildren want to either stay in or come back to. Key transport and new jobs are a big part of that,” Ms Nash said.
State Minister for Regional Development Terry Redman MLA said the expanded airport would be a game changer for tourism in the region.
“Direct flights from the east coast will take tourism in the South West to a new level. When the $600 million Growing our South initiative was announced it was intended for projects such as this – major transformational projects to support a stronger economy for the southern regions,” Mr Redman said.
Mr Muir said if elected on July 2, he would endeavour to see a greater partnership between Royalties for Regions and the Federal Government.
“Royalties for Regions is already investing greatly into thousands of projects across regional WA to provide services and infrastructure needed to make our communities sustainable and vibrant places to live, work and invest,” he said.
“The Federal Government also has a role to play in supporting and developing our regional communities, and I’ll be championing projects like the Busselton-Margaret River Airport in Federal Parliament.”
Mr Muir said delivering a fair share of GST back to Western Australia was also critical to ensure the State Government was able to continue to invest in critical infrastructure.
“The Nationals WA are the only party committed to delivering a fair share of the GST back to WA to ensure our State Budget is balanced and we can afford to invest in new projects.”
Vote 1 for The Nationals WA on July 2 to end the GST rip-off, get rid of the Backpacker Tax, and deliver increased Federal investment into regional health, education and infrastructure.