Funds pledged for flights
Support is mounting for the Busselton-Margaret River Regional Airport’s soon-to-be-established marketing fund, with local governments and tourism bodies pledging hundreds of thousands of dollars to help secure interstate flights.
Despite the airport expansion plans still being embroiled in a State Government-initiated “value optimisation review”, the City of Bunbury and Shires of Dardanup, Manjimup, Harvey and Capel have all signed on to the marketing fund.
Bunbury has agreed to contribute $50,000 over five years, while the other local governments mentioned will put in $10,000 each over the same period.
City of Busselton Mayor Grant Henley told the Times the support from neighbouring councils demonstrated the project’s regional importance.
The Shire of Augusta-Margaret River was asked for the biggest slice of support, with City community and commercial services director Naomi Searle confirming $125,000 over five years had been requested.
Ms Searle said figures were “based upon rateable income and direct links to the potential out- comes of successfully securing and sustaining direct air services into the region from both domestic and international destinations”.
The Times understands the Shires of Augusta-Margaret River Shire, Boyup Brook, Bridgetown-Greenbushes, Collie, Dardanup and Donnybrook-Balingup are yet to make a decision.
Australia’s South West has also offered in-principle support to the tune of $125,000 over five years and the Margaret River-Busselton Tourism Association has committed $100,000 over two financial years.
In a letter directed to the City of Busselton, Shire of Harvey chief executive Michael Parker said the council recognised the potential benefits of the airport.
“While it may take time, we see significant potential benefits for horticulture, dairy and meat processors if the movement of freight can be secured through Busselton,” he said.
“We trust that our support will help to demonstrate the regional nature of the BMRA project”.
The Shire of Augusta-Margaret River did not respond to the Times request for comment by deadline.
The results of the airport review are expected to be delivered with next week’s State Budget.