Terminal push as stimulus

Warren HatelyBusselton Dunsborough Times
Jetstar yesterday postponed its first Busselton to Melbourne flights form Busselton Margaret River Airport.
Camera IconJetstar yesterday postponed its first Busselton to Melbourne flights form Busselton Margaret River Airport. Credit: Getty Images

Capes politicians have called on the State Government to commit to building Busselton Airport’s stalled passenger terminal as a stimulus measure amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Warren-Blackwood MLA Terry Redman and Vasse MLA Libby Mettam said the terminal construction was a strong option to support the local economy, prepare the region for post-pandemic tourism, and could be followed by further investment in tourism infrastructure in the Capes.

“I believe now is the ideal time for the Government to invest in stimulus activities that will support the tourism sector once the pandemic is over,” Mr Redman said.

“One action I continue to promote is building the passenger terminal at the Busselton-Margaret River Airport.

“The building industry is currently flat, so this will provide jobs in the short term, and deliver a modern, welcoming access point for visitors once the tourism sector recovers.”

Ms Mettam said measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 remained crucial, but the road ahead also had to be considered.

“We are a resilient region and can kick-start our economy with initiatives which will create jobs,” she said.

“I am hopeful that at that time there will be support from all levels of government to see this happen.”

The Vasse MLA and former shadow tourism minister said the airport as well as other South West projects would benefit from Government funding.

Recently, investment in the Bunbury Outer Ring Road project was touted as a key opportunity for local contractors to keep working.

Ms Mettam said building the Bussell Highway dual carriageway between Busselton and Capel and Busselton Jetty’s Underwater Observatory proposal also deserved support.

WA Tourism Minister Paul Papalia declined to commit to specifics.

“We are dealing with an unprecedented situation and we need to carefully balance our resources and priorities when we emerge from the other side of this pandemic,” he said.

“The McGowan Government is focused on supporting businesses by reducing their costs through payroll, utility, and licence fee relief, as well as establishing an Industry Support Team for tourism businesses to provide them with practical assistance and advice.

“We are also considering further measures to stimulate the economy and help businesses affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Minister said the last pre-pandemic visitor numbers showed significant growth.

“The South West was increasingly popular among international, interstate and intrastate visitors, which demonstrates the region’s underlying strength to help with the road ahead,” he said.

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