FIFO bids up in air

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - DOMANII CAMERON

ADANI has dis­missed claims that a $ 5 mil­lion Fed­eral Govern­ment grant to up­grade pave­ment at the Rock­hamp­ton Air­port has placed the town as a front run­ner to win the ma­jor flyin fly- out hub con­tract.

It comes af­ter the Cen­tral Queens­land air­port flooded twice dur­ing the past six years and was left un­us­able for three weeks in 2011.

Min­is­ter for Re­gional Devel­op­ment Fiona Nash an­nounced the fund­ing on Fri­day as part of Build­ing Bet­ter Re­gions Fund.

The up­grade will pro­vide as­phalt resur­fac­ing to the main run­way and “sur­face en­rich­ment” to the taxi­ways, run­way shoul­ders, and both the mil­i­tary and reg­u­lar pub­lic trans­port aprons.

Adani was sched­uled to an­nounce the con­tract last month how­ever ne­go­ti­a­tions are con­tin­u­ing.

Spokesman Ron Wat­son said Rock­hamp­ton’s up­grade wasn’t “re­lated di­rectly” to their FIFO bid.

“Rock­hamp­ton for many years has had this prob­lem with their air­port,” he said.

Mr Wat­son said the grant would en­hance their bid, in re­la­tion to op­er­a­tional abil­i­ties, how­ever didn’t make the re­gion a front run­ner.

“We’re close now ( de­ci­sion),” he said.

It comes af­ter the Rock­hamp­ton Re­gional Coun­cil handed down their 2017- 18 Bud­get last month, which re­vealed $ 10 mil­lion would be spent on the Air­port Pave­ment Re­newal Project.

Mayor Jenny Hill said there was no rea­son for alarm.

“We have been push­ing very hard for the FIFO hub,” she said.

Townsville Air­port chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Kevin Gill said the re­gion’s air­port rarely flooded.

“It has re­mained open in all weather events with the ex­cep­tion of when wind is high,” he said.

Townsville Enterprise chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Pa­tri­cia O’Cal­laghan said the eco­nomic devel­op­ment body was not con­cerned by the fund­ing grant.

“The re­gion has put for­ward a case that says it’s not just an air­port,” she said.

“We have the ser­vices ad­min­is­tra­tive cen­tre and we’re ba­si­cally the best place in the coun­try to live while ser­vic­ing th­ese min­ing projects.’’

SPLASHDOWN: Wa­ter cov­ers a run­way at Rock­hamp­ton Air­port dur­ing a flood.

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