Western Australia’s South-West is a step closer to getting direct flights to and from Melbourne and Sydney after the first sod was turned at a ceremony, marking the start of the expansion of Busselton-Margaret River Regional Airport.
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the new airport would be a game changer for the region, which would reap economic benefits particularly in the local tourism and hospitality sector.
“The development of interstate air services to the region will attract new interstate visitors and bring additional tourism opportunities, which will have significant benefits for local businesses and enable broader economic and industry development in the South-West,” he said.
“The project is another example of the Liberal National Government’s strong record in investing in strategic projects to drive regional economic growth.”
Mr Redman said the project would deliver positive outcomes for the whole region and was a further example of how Royalties for Regions was benefiting regional communities and the State as a whole.
Transport Minister Bill Marmion said an estimated 126 jobs would be created during the construction phase, with further jobs generated once operational.
“The large-scale project will include upgrades to the runway and a new passenger terminal allowing bigger planes to land at the airport, plus additional terminal capacity to accommodate new visitors to our State,” Mr Marmion said.
The airport upgrades will support increases in the movement of people and airfreight in the region, and foster long-term opportunities for development into the future.
“It will also have a positive impact on long-term regional development by lowering the cost of doing business in the region, attracting regional investment and creating local employment opportunities in logistics, agriculture, aquaculture and other supporting industries,” Mr Redman said.
The State Government has committed $56.5 million to the project and the Commonwealth Government’s contribution of $9.78 million will allow for the potential for direct international airfreight flights. The City of Busselton has spent $3.5 million on the redevelopment.