Regional airports in NSW have been invited to apply for a slice of the state government’s $50 million funding program earmarked for infrastructure improvements in a bid to boost tourism.
The $50 million package, available to the 30 regional airports that received regular public transport (RPT) services in the state, is part of the government’s $110 million Regional Tourism Infrastructure Fund (RTIF).
Airports have until March 31 to register an expression of interest for their particular project to be considered, with the government expected to announce a shortlist by the end of May.
NSW Minister for Regional Tourism John Barilaro said priority would be given to projects that benefitted regional tourism destinations, “demonstrated by overnight visitation, enhanced aviation outcomes, visitor expenditure and passenger movements”.
“Investing in regional infrastructure such as airports will improve access for visitors to these world class tourism destinations as well as stimulate business activity and create jobs,” Barilaro said in the guidelines explaining the application process.
Australian Airports Association (AAA) chief executive Caroline Wilkie said the $50 million would offer improved access to regional airports and support their local economies.
Wilkie noted smaller airports have struggled to secure funding for work such as maintaining runways and other airport infrastructure.
Moreover, larger regional airports had been hit by the “changing needs of airline customers and government regulators particularly in relation to aviation security measures”.
“The funding will help to deliver better airport services and facilities for local residents as well as visitors to regional communities, supporting jobs and the development of regional tourism,” Wilkie said in a statement on Thursday.
“The viability of regional airports is essential to support growth in regional tourism and economic development, by keeping regional destinations connected through aviation with other parts of Australia as well as international markets.”
The AAA said it would seek additional support for airports without RPT services.
More information on the RTIF can be found here.