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Chesters misleads residents on Bendigo Airport funding

Letter to the Editor published in Bendigo Advertiser

It is regrettable that the federal member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters, has sought to mislead local residents about federal funding for Bendigo Airport.

On behalf of the Morrison Government, this week I was delighted to announce that Greater Bendigo City Council has been awarded $300,000 under round 2 of the Regional Airports Program to fully fund the construction of a helicopter stand and a fuel truck parking area, vital for emergency services.   Our government has also delivered $465,000 under round 1 of this program to fund an expansion of the airport’s passenger transport apron and construct a run-up area.

In 2015, the Coalition Government awarded Bendigo Airport $5 million to construct a new runway to suit aircraft capable of carrying up to 70 passengers, as well as to upgrade lighting, taxiways and associated infrastructure.

The council also has applied for $4.5 million under the Morrison Government’s Building Better Regions Fund to help fund a $10 million expansion of the terminal and airport’s business park.  This application, for which I am very a strong advocate, is currently being assessed in accordance with the program’s competitive funding criteria.

In failing to acknowledge this funding application or the nearly $6 million of federal Liberal investment in Bendigo Airport, Ms Chesters has deliberately misrepresented the facts.

This next phase of Bendigo Airport’s redevelopment, to which council and the state government are also contributing, will support the operation of more flights and routes, and ensure capacity for larger aircraft with more passengers from competing airlines.  Once the business park is fully operational, the airport will generate an estimated $8.9 million in economic output each year.

I commend council and Bendigo Airport on its vision.  In discussing the many ways the Morrison Government is supporting the people of Bendigo, I trust that Ms Chesters will take greater care to convey accurate information in future.

Senator Sarah Henderson

Liberal Senator for Victoria & Patron Senator for Bendigo

4 August 2021

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