Jun 09, 2017

State offers $15m lift for airport upgrade plans

State offers $15m lift for airport upgrade plans

Whitsunday Regional Council has secured $15 million in State funds for a planned $40 million airport upgrade project.

Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the council’s business case for the plan was compelling, with work to include remediating the existing runway surface and upgrading the Whitsunday Coast Airport terminal for current domestic demand.

“The Whitsundays is an internationally renowned destination and I want to ensure the infrastructure here is of a standard to accommodate that demand so the local industry sees even more tourists visiting this spectacular region,” he said.

“I asked Queensland Treasury Corporation (QTC) to undertake a financial assessment to determine the council’s borrowing capacity and the level of funding required from the State Government to make this important local project a reality.”

The council will seek a low-interest loan of $25 million from the QTC for the runway upgrade as part of the $40 million project.

Tourism Whitsunday chief executive officer Craig Turner said the airport upgrade was crucial for the region.

“The biggest barrier to the Whitsunday region has always been accessibility and cost, so the announcement of airport upgrades by Whitsunday Regional Council, coupled with additional flights announced earlier this year, will go a long way to realising visitation potential,” he said.

“We have ticked the box in regard to increasing low cost connectivity and the next piece of the puzzle is to ensure that travellers get that visitor experience when they arrive into the region. What another great initiative by this proactive council.”

Treasurer Curtis Pitt (second from right) with Whitsunday region councillors Jan Clifford, John Collins, Andrew Willcox (Mayor), Mike Brunker and Ron Petterson.