Whitsundays scores $15 million for airport upgrade

Treasurer Curtis Pitt is backing the Whitsunday Coast Council’s planned airport upgrade, investing $15 million into the project.

Mr Pitt said the Council’s business case for the $40 million plan was compelling.

“It’s critical at this time that we do what we can to get the Whitsunday region back on its feet following Cyclone Debbie,” Mr Pitt said.

“So I was more than happy to sign off on the Whitsunday Coast Council’s request for financial assistance.

“This $40 million project is essential in order for council to remediate the existing runway surface and upgrade the 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.

“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.

“On that advice I’ve signed off on a $15 million allocation for the Whitsundays.”

Whitsunday Coast Mayor Andrew Willcox welcomed the announcement of the provisional allocation of funds.

“The airport is the single most important piece of economic infrastructure in our region and without this financial support from the Queensland Government, we wouldn’t be able to obtain a QTC loan,” Mr Willcox said.

“Borrowing the $40 million at commercial rates simply isn’t feasible for a Council of our size given the amount of interest we’d incur.

“But doing nothing isn’t an option either, which is why QTC financing is the perfect solution.

“I am determined to drive economic growth in our region by growing tourist visitation numbers, which means we have to maintain our airport to a world class standard.”