Air­port lo­ca­tion makes sense

South Western Times - - Point Of View -

Mr Kerr’s lat­est The Crow (Times, Aug 2) about the Bus­sel­ton Mar­garet River Air­port (BMRA) ex­pan­sion can­not pass with­out ad­dress.

The City of Bus­sel­ton makes no apol­ogy for be­ing a proac­tive Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment. We are com­mit­ted to iden­ti­fy­ing growth op­por­tu­ni­ties and de­liv­er­ing projects that ben­e­fit the peo­ple of the South West.

Mr Kerr is en­ti­tled to his opin­ion on the project how­ever, in the in­ter­ests of bal­anced re­port­ing, I am happy to pro­vide some clar­ity.

Air­lines are not “reluc­tant” to com­mit to the BMRA due to its lo­ca­tion. In fact, ne­go­ti­a­tions with air­line providers, while con­fi­den­tial, are pro­gress­ing. The fa­cil­ity’s lo­ca­tion in the heart of the State’s most fre­quently vis­ited re­gional tourist des­ti­na­tion has been iden­ti­fied by sev­eral air­lines as a key draw­card. Other ben­e­fits are the un­con­gested air-space, ex­cel­lent air­side in­fra­struc­ture (ca­pa­ble of ac­com­mo­dat­ing large pas­sen­ger jets), sig­nif­i­cant pop­u­la­tion growth pro­jec­tions and plans for fu­ture high-speed rail con­nec­tiv­ity be­tween Bus­sel­ton and Perth.

BMRA is al­ready the State’s sec­ond largest FIFO air­port ser­vic­ing work­ers from across the South West and beyond. It’s ideally po­si­tioned to pro­vide freight op­por­tu­ni­ties for lo­cal providers in the ac­claimed South West food bowl. The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment, whose sup­port for the air­port ex­pan­sion has been unswerv­ing, has re­cently pro­vided ad­di­tional fund­ing of $1.5 mil­lion to sup­port de­vel­op­ment of a freight hub within the BRMA precinct – the first in the South West.

Mr Kerr’s opin­ion that the fa­cil­ity would be bet­ter sit­u­ated be­tween Bun­bury and Perth makes lit­tle sense to the City of Bus­sel­ton or the 12 other Lo­cal Gov­ern­ments in the South West in­clud­ing the City of Bun­bury. These Lo­cal Gov­ern­ments, which have a com­bined catch­ment of 170,000 res­i­dents, have all backed the BMRA de­vel­op­ment. Clearly this cen­tral lo­ca­tion also makes sense to the State and Fed­eral gov­ern­ments who, on the back of a very ro­bust busi­ness case, have funded the project to the tune of $65 mil­lion.

Mr Kerr’s opin­ion that the air­port should be built by the Chi­nese holds lit­tle favour. We’re ex­cep­tion­ally proud to be de­liv­er­ing this sig­nif­i­cant com­mu­nity as­set. The BMRA is be­ing do­mes­ti­cally funded and do­mes­ti­cally built. Once com­plete it will be owned and man­aged by Aus­tralians - we make no apol­ogy for that ei­ther.

Mayor Grant Hen­ley, City of Bus­sel­ton

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