Federal funding for upgraded airfield at Newcastle Airport
The Prime Minister Scott Morrison travelled to Newcastle Airport on 7 May to announce the muchanticipated funding for a significant upgrade to the airfield that Newcastle Airport accesses from RAAF Base Williamtown.
The upgrade works, which will commence this year in conjunction with the RAAF’s scheduled runway maintenance program, will see the runway upgraded to Code E status. This will allow wide-bodied, long-haul aircraft to fly in and out of Williamtown, connecting the rest of the world to the people and businesses of the Hunter, Central Coast and Northern NSW.
Newcastle Airport CEO Dr Peter Cock said the upgrade was a game-changer for the region.
“I want to thank the Prime Minister and the Federal Government for the confidence and trust they have shown in our airport and the region more generally.
“Attracting this funding has been the result of a huge effort from the entire region. The support we have received from all sectors of our community in advocating for this project has been extraordinary.
“Now we can focus on the potential that this infrastructure upgrade will unleash. It will permanently change our region for the better in so many ways," he said.
“Of course, it will offer convenience for travellers from our region who want to fly internationally. But more importantly, it will drive huge, sustainable economic benefits into the whole of northern NSW. It is truly a nation building project.
"From local tourism operators and hospitality owners to agricultural producers and freight and logistics providers, this project will drive significant jobs and economic return for generations to come.”
Also speaking at the announcement, Chair of Newcastle Airport Kirby Clark was elated to see the funding delivered for what has been the Board’s priority project for some time.
“It’s difficult to put into words how important this project is for the airport and the 1.2 million people that it services,” he said.
“Measured in purely dollar terms, we estimate the economic benefit will exceed $12 billion across the life of the runway, diversifying the local economy and generating 4,000 full time jobs.
“But beyond that, it offers hope and confidence to our industry, the wider business community and our community at just the right time after a very challenging 18 months.”
The project, which will cost $55million in addition to the $115million upgrade that Defence is already undertaking, is due to commence in June and will be completed in early 2023.