Monday, 17 June 2013

Clarence Valley Council flying high with new airport upgrade funding from the federal government

In July 2012 Clarence Valley Council announced that it would benefit from a NSW O'Farrell Government grant of a 4% interest subsidy on loans under the Local Infrastructure Renewal Scheme, which will allow it to borrow the $1.06 million to begin work on the $2.1 million airport upgrade - construction of an additional aircraft parking bay, extra hardstand areas helicopters, strengthening and shape correction of the runway and apron pavements, extension of the passenger terminal building and replacement of the aerodrome back-up electrical power supply.

On 12 June 2013 the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Federal Minister for Regional Development and Local Government Antony Albanese and Federal Labor MP for Page Janelle Saffin announced that the Labor Government will contribute $1 million to the upgrade which includes an extension of the airport terminal, an additional parking bay for passenger aircraft and extra hardstand areas for helicopters. The project will also see the perimeter fence and runway lighting upgraded, as well as the airport's back-up power supply replaced.  

This new federal grant is coming from Round Four of the Regional Development Australia Fund. Full details here.

As the National Institute of Economic and Industry Research (NIEIR) for the Regional Aviation Association of Australia (RAAA) concluded that "regional communities with regular air services are doing better on a number of clear quantitative measures than those without"  [Clarence Valley Council December 2010] both councillors and valley residents can be pleased with this chance to complete the scheduled upgrade by 28 December 2014.

Of course none of this will really please Rex Regional Express airline, which continues its epic six year-long moan that was enthusiastically supported by much gloomy head shaking on the part of Federal Nationals leader Warren Truss, and Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce when they visited Grafton airport in May 2011.

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