BIG PLANS FOR AIRPORT
$10million announced as election draws near
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.