$10mil­lion an­nounced as elec­tion draws near

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE -

THE Whit­sun­day Coast Air­port will re­ceive a $10mil­lion run­way ex­ten­sion if the Rudd Govern­ment is re-elected.

This would al­low the run­way to cater for larger air­craft such as A330s and Boe­ing 707 Dream­lin­ers to ac­com­mo­date the do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional tourism mar­ket.

The an­nounce­ment has been wel­comed by Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil and Whit­sun­days Mar­ket­ing and De­vel­op­ment.

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter An­thony Al­banese flew into the Whit­sun­days on Mon­day to make the an­nounce­ment with La­bor can­di­date Bron­wyn Taha.

How­ever, with the fed­eral elec­tion less than three weeks away, sit­ting LNP mem­ber Ge­orge Chris­tensen has de­scribed the an­nounce­ment as an empty elec­tion prom­ise.

“It's funny how La­bor's prom­ise to up­grade the Whit­sun­day Coast Air­port has ar­rived on the eve of an elec­tion the polls say will be the govern­ment's de­par­ture,” he said.

Mr Chris­tensen said he was sup­port­ive of an air­port up­grade but any fed­eral fund­ing must be al­lo­cated to the pro­ject in a fi­nan­cially re­spon­si­ble man­ner.

How­ever, Mr Al­banese said the fund­ing was not just an elec­tion prom­ise and that it was al­ready bud­geted through the Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Aus­tralia fund (RDA).

La­bor can­di­date for Daw­son Bron­wyn Taha es­ti­mated that the ex­pan- sion would cre­ate 50 jobs dur­ing the con­struc­tion stage and an­other 500 full­time jobs once the up­grade was com­plete.

Mr Al­banese said the Whit­sun­day Coast Air­port had ex­pe­ri­enced sig­nif­i­cant growth in pas­sen­ger num­bers with a 13.6 per cent in­crease in the past year.

Coun­cil’s chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Scott Wa­ters said that with the fund­ing, the run­way would be ex­tended by 327 me­tres to reach 2400 me­tres to pro­vide the same ca­pa­bil­i­ties as the Gold Coast Air­port.

Mas­ter plans for the pro­posed air­port de­vel­op­ment were re­leased by Coun­cil in March this year, de­tail­ing the air­port ter­mi­nal tripling in size.

UP­GRADE AN­NOUNCE­MENT: Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil mayor Jennifer Whit­ney, La­bor can­di­date for Daw­son Bron­wyn Taha, Deputy Prime Min­is­ter An­thony Al­banese, Cr Kevin Collins and Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Scott Wa­ters at the $10 mil­lion an­nounce­ment at the Whit­sun­day Coast Air­port on Mon­day.

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