Whitsunday Regional Council has unanimously resolved at the last ordinary council meeting to engage with the State Government to seek their support for the growth and development of the Whitsunday Coast Airport International Export Hub.
Mayor Jenny Whitney said that following engagement with the State Government, Council will begin an Expression of Interest process on a majority council owned; joint venture/public private partnership for the development of the Whitsunday Coast Airport International Export Hub and Council’s aviation assets throughout the region.
“The most important message I can give to the community is that Council will retain the majority ownership of all assets; that will not change,” Mayor Whitney said.
“The intent of the EOI process is to formalise current approaches from airport corporations, institutional investors, internationally based investors as well as locally based investors,” she said.
“The recently completed Whitsunday Coast Airport – International Export Hub Master Plan and Feasibility Study has helped us realise our growth potential and identified the financial investment required to deliver this project,” she said.
“The airport has experienced phenomenal passenger growth over the past 4 years of near 40%, with the trend set to continue. Our region’s airport is primed for future expansion and growth, recent schedule and route additions with our airline partners have now placed the airport into record territory,
“We are fortunate that we are in a position to be able to accommodate the growth of the region through the development of this important piece of infrastructure to drive economic and tourism growth in the Whitsundays. Our region currently has in excess of $2 billion dollars worth of tourism and agricultural development at various stages of application in the pipeline. With the Airport being a critical piece of infrastructure in ensuring these projects come to fruition.”
“The bottom line is that this project is a job creator and builds on current Port/Rail transport and logistic infrastructure in the region. Adding a 3rd element through aviation, will firmly imbed transport and logistics as a sector in our economy to positively grow our tourism and agriculture sectors via direct market access to Asia.”
Mayor Jenny Whitney also said that Council will be undertaking community consultation before any decisions are made around the future development of the Whitsunday Coast Airport.