Funding for the Busselton Margaret River Airport expansion was given the okay after Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan completed the state government’s value optimisation review.
The project’s funding remains held in a joint bank account between the City of Busselton and the state government, with Ms MacTiernan stating they would continue working to find appropriate savings on landside projects.
City of Busselton chief executive officer Mike Archer said they were confident the project would continue as per the master plan and visitors flying directly from the Eastern States would be welcomed by the end of 2018.
“While we do not envisage any delay, some non-essential elements of the project associated with elements like landscaping, parking and internal road networks may be scaled-back or deferred,” he said.
“We think the outcome is fair and thoroughly workable. We will continue to partner with the state to deliver this strategically important infrastructure to the South West and to ensure best value for money for the tax-payers”.
Vasse MP Libby Mettam said despite plans to rip funds out of the project the state government would now be a major stakeholder in the airport.
Ms Mettam said it was also vital the government supported the expansion through destination marketing and events support, which would be key to filling plane seats and ensuring regular route commitments from airlines.
South West MP Adele Farina said after a tough review process and months of speculation, strong advocacy and merit of the project won with the budget confirming no funding cuts were made to the airport.
“Many tough decisions had to be made in this budget,” she said.
“The review of the project by Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan was both necessary and understandable given the state’s finances – I am pleased this important project has come through the review process.
“The redevelopment of the Busselton-Margaret River Airport has the potential to be a significant economic driver for the region, providing a much needed boost to tourism and the local economy.
“I look forward to continuing to work with the City of Busselton and Ms MacTiernan to ensure the project’s anticipated benefits are realised for the region.”