Busi­ness unites in push for air­port

Augusta Margaret River Times - - News - War­ren Hately

The South West’s com­bined cham­bers of com­merce have stri­dently re­jected Tourism Min­is­ter Paul Pa­palia’s scathing as­sess­ment of Bus­sel­ton Air­port’s prospects ear­lier this month, say­ing the lon­gawaited $13 mil­lion pas­sen­ger ter­mi­nal must be built im­me­di­ately.

In­cor­po­rat­ing cham­bers from Peel to Col­lie and Au­gusta, a state­ment last Fri­day said many ben­e­fits had al­ready come from the City of Bus­sel­ton-led pro­ject.

“The SWCCI now calls for the com­ple­tion of the new ter­mi­nal so that the whole pro­ject will be com­pleted,” the state­ment said.

“The ten­der for the ter­mi­nal de­vel­op­ment has been awarded to a lo­cal busi­ness, which will cre­ate more lo­cal jobs when con­struc­tion com­mences.”

The cham­bers said the ter­mi­nal was needed to sup­port growth across sec­tors in­clud­ing tourism, ex­port trade, the wine in­dus­try, and wed­dings, and re­jected the com­ment stake­hold­ers had been “sold a pup”.

The Mar­garet River and Bus­sel- ton cham­bers also weighed in.

“It’s dis­ap­point­ing to see the pro­ject stall af­ter so much de­vel­op­ment and in­vest­ment thus far,” Bus­sel­ton Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try chief ex­ec­u­tive Jo Richards told the Times.

“By with­hold­ing fund­ing for the fi­nal stage of the pro­ject, they are un­der­min­ing con­fi­dence in the pro­ject, leav­ing air­lines ner­vous about com­mit­ting to flights.”

Mar­garet River Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­i­dent Steve Cas­tan said the busi­ness sec­tor would put pres­sure on the State Govern­ment to fin­ish the air­port. Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Alan­nah MacTier­nan re­it­er­ated Bus­sel­ton’s great­est hopes lay with a pos­si­ble Qan­tas pi­lot academy and de­flected ques­tions about the va­lid­ity of pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ments’ fund­ing.

“We wel­come any sup­port for this pro­ject and look for­ward to work­ing with the re­gional cham­bers to con­tinue our ef­forts to at­tract an air­line to the air­port,” she said.

“The State Govern­ment has al­ready spent more than $40 mil­lion on run­way and in­fra­struc­ture up­grades at Bus­sel­ton Air­port.

“The re­main­der of the pro­ject — a new ter­mi­nal build­ing — will be given the green light once an air­line is se­cured or if Qan­tas agrees to lo­cate a pi­lot academy at Bus­sel­ton.”

Vasse MLA Libby Met­tam ques­tioned State Govern­ment de­ci­sions around se­cur­ing air­lines (see side­bar, and let­ters, page 9).

What do you think? Email edi­tor@am­r­times.com.au or visit us on Face­book.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.