Coalition proud of project

THE Nationals federal deputy leader Bridget McKenzie had some choice words for the WA Labor government when she visited the Busselton on October 12.

Senator McKenzie, who is also the Minister for Regional Services, Sport, Local Government and Decentralisation, was in the region for The Nationals annual conference in Manjimup.

Senator McKenzie flew into WA, and chose to land at the Busselton-Margaret River Regional Airport to meet with City of Busselton mayor Grant Henley and Forrest MP Nola Marino.

Senator McKenzie was full of praise for the project and the commercial opportunities it presented. She said the federal government had been proud to support the project and slammed the state government’s inaction.

“It is very disappointing that the state government has not seen to maintain its commitment to this community and the broader region to actually finish the terminal,” she said.

“We have a state government who cannot see beyond the bounds of Perth, and it doesn’t matter what level or area of policy development you look at, the McGowan Labor government, whether it is supporting farmers in the sheep trade, whether it is on rural health measures, regional education, or projects like this about investing in the future of regional WA beyond the mining, you know I think we’ve got a real problem with this state Labor government.

“So I’ll be doing everything I can, and I know my National party colleagues and my Liberal party to colleagues will to actually make sure they see, not just the value in investing in this but that it’s about equity and backing regional WA.” While nearly $50 million dollars of infrastructure works have been completed, the construction of the new terminal remains on hold – and the project is incomplete.

Following the change in government in June 2017, the state government announced a value optimisation review of the project. In February 2018, the state government requested that the city delay construction until it received a commitment from an airline to commence services.

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan said it was completely irresponsible for the Federal Minister to support building a terminal that, at this stage, no one was committed to using.

“Our government is pushing hard for this project to succeed, but we cannot force airlines to come,” she said.

“We are working to secure an airline through the South West Development Commission and TourismWA, however we will not apologise for holding off on spending taxpayer dollars on the new terminal without an airline secured.”

Source: Busselton Dunsborough Mail