Upgrade on the way for airport
THE Federal Government has committed to funding the last of the Bendigo Airport upgrade costs on the same morning the Opposition made an identical election promise.
A joint statement released last Friday by the Federal Coalition announced $4.5 million for the major works at the airport and a new adjoining business park.
The same amount was committed by the State Government in 2019, with a further $985,000 coming from the City of Greater Bendigo to build a new departure and waiting lounge, security screening area, baggage claim, restroom facilities, administration building and equipment shed.
A statement from the municipality labelled the project the region’s number one priority and mayor Cr Andrea Metcalf said she was looking forward to works starting soon, with construction set to go to tender.
“The introduction of the Bendigo to Sydney Qantas service has been an unprecedented success and with an expanded terminal we will be able to welcome bigger planes, access new domestic travel opportunities and attract more tourists to the region,” she said.
“It is expected the project will support 49 jobs during the construction phase and create five full time jobs in the first year of operation and up to 19 jobs by 2030.
“The complementary business park will also allow us to realise new business opportunities, investment and jobs that will arise from the additional flights.”
Previous Federal Government funding for the site included almost $5.8 million for a new runway and helicopter stand, and Victorian Senator Sarah Henderson said the terminal upgrade would have a range of benefits.
“Once operational, the airport will generate a large boost in jobs, deliver tourism and business travel opportunities to the region and increase local economic output each year,” she said.
Shadow minister for infrastructure Catherine King met with Bendigo MP Lisa Chesters at the site last week to announce their party would also fund the remainder of the project if elected.
“Labor making this announcement here… has forced, finally, the Liberal party to match [the funding]. This means that this project is absolutely a reality,” she said.
The upgrade is scheduled to start later this year with works expected to be completed in the second half of 2023.