MEMBER for Eden-Monaro Dr Mike Kelly on Monday announced $1.49 million in Federal funding to deliver vital infrastructure at Moruya Airport.
The grant, under Regional Development Australia Fund Round 5(B), will allow the Eurobodalla Shire Council to enhance road access to the airport and connect 3-phase power to the airport’s commercial precinct.
Council will also be able to extend and connect a water and sewer pipeline to the airport precinct and open up 14.7hectares of commercial land.
Dr Kelly made the announcement at the airport - celebrating with local residents and representatives from Regional Development Australia Far South Coast and Eurobodalla Shire Council, which is contributing $658,000 funding to the project.
He said the project built on the Labor Government’s pledge to promote strong, prosperous regional communities and would benefit the Eurobodalla community through job creation, private investment and by significantly boosting the tourism industry.
“This is a much-needed upgrade, which is expected to see jobs directly associated with the airport grow from 25 to around 100,” Dr Kelly said.
“But the reason this project has been successful is because it has wider benefits for the shire and the region.
“Tourism is one of the central pillars in my vision for the region, and we are investing in key pieces of infrastructure like the Snug Cove Wharf at Eden to really super-charge our tourism industry and ensure we can attract visitors year-round.
“We know the $10 million we are delivering for the Snug Cove Wharf will bring up to 200,000 more cruise ship passengers a year into Eden, and we will spread them throughout the region. Research shows that up to 40 per cent of those tourists will return as fly-drive holiday makers.
“That’s why developing Moruya Airport is so important. Along with the work that has been completed at Merimbula Airport, we are putting all the infrastructure pieces in place to secure our economic future.”
Dr Kelly said the flow-on effects would benefit almost every local industry, from hospitality to retail and other small business enterprises.
Funding for the Moruya Airport project is already included in the budget.
However, Dr Kelly said the only way to secure the project is to make sure the Rudd Labor Government is re-elected.
“This money is in the bank, it is budgeted for, and it is a rock-solid commitment from our Government,” Dr Kelly said.
Liberal candidate Peter Hendy meanwhile said he personally supported the Moruya Airport proposal and had done so for quite a while.
“At this stage there’s not a commitment for the Coalition but I do raise the question mark over whether you will ever see that money from a Labor Government,” he said.
“Mike Kelly has been in for six years now, this is an issue which didn't crop up the other day, it’s been around for quite a long time, and they've not previously delivered and they’re making a promise before the election.
“I personally think it’s a very good project. Like the Port of Eden project it’s an economic development project which will have good spin-offs across the Eurobodalla, but at this stage I can’t commit the Coalition to the funding. I will be, if elected in a couple of weeks, fighting very hard to see that we can get the money.
“Today we're announcing $10 million for the Port of Eden redevelopement. That gives the people of Eden-Monaro some indication that when I say that I fight for them and their projects, I can deliver.”