More than 200 local jobs, extra flights and greater tourism activity are expected to flow from a $50 million investment in Townsville Airport by the Coalition Government.
The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) has agreed to provide a $50 million loan to Queensland Airports Limited's "Project Alive" - an $80 million project to upgrade the Townsville Airport.
Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan, Townsville-based Senator Ian Macdonald and Member for Dawson George Christensen announced the NAIF funding at Townsville Airport today. They were also joined by LNP candidate for Herbert, Phillip Thompson.
"This project will see new jobs and a bright future for Townsville,” Minister Canavan said.
“As the largest city in Northern Australia, Townsville is the gateway for many who travel to Northern Australia.
“Townsville deserves a world-class airport to make an impression on visitors and this investment will help achieve that.
“Backing this major project is a vote of confidence from the Federal Government on Townsville's bright future, despite the tough past month for the town.
"The Federal Government will help Townsville rebuild but we are also backing it to bounce back even stronger.”
Mr Christensen said the NAIF-supported project would create much-needed jobs in the region.
"This re-development of the Townsville Airport will support more than 200 fulltime equivalent jobs during construction and 50 fulltime operational jobs after the project is completed,” Mr Christensen said.
"Townsville Airport already supports more than 3,000 jobs and contributes $420 million to the economy, and it is a vital transport hub for North Queensland.
“The last significant terminal upgrade occurred in 2003 and since then the airport’s passenger movements have grown by more than 80 per cent. To generate maximum economic benefits in North Queensland, this airport needs to grow and respond quickly to the opportunities from increasing air travel and tourism."
Senator Macdonald welcomed the announcement as a "shot in the arm" for the Townsville region.
"Now more than ever, families and businesses in the Townsville region need some good news, and a major construction project to support existing jobs and create new ones is very good news indeed,” Senator Macdonald said.
"Funding this upgrade means turbo-charging the airport’s performance by reducing passenger congestion and delays, with more people flowing into the region for business, personal travel and holiday activities, spreading wealth throughout the region.
"The airport expansion is a great example of the projects the Coalition is prioritising to help drive the development of Northern Australia in general and North Queensland in particular.”
The Townsville Airport project is the NAIF’s second investment decision to drive real jobs and economic growth for the Townsville region, after the $96 million NAIF loan to help develop a Technology Innovation Complex at James Cook University announced in July last year.
NAIF has now committed – through investment decisions and conditional approvals – $623 million in Queensland. In total, NAIF has made 10 investment decisions across Northern Australia, with a further three projects given conditional approval. The value of total investments, including conditional approvals, is approximately $1.3 billion. The capital value of these projects is approximately $2.8 billion.