Funds pledged for flights

Augusta Margaret River Times - - Times News - Taelor Pelusey and Pierra Wil­lix

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.

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