Stawell Airport upgrade takes off

Northern Grampians Shire Council has welcomed a new funding injection from the State Government, that will ensure the completion of redevelopment works at the Stawell Airport.

Aviation Minister Gordon Rich-Phillips and Northern Grampians Shire Mayor, Cr Kevin Erwin, celebrate the opening of stage three works and the announcement of funding for stage four.

Aviation Minister Gordon Rich-Phillips and Northern Grampians Shire Mayor, Cr Kevin Erwin, celebrate the opening of stage three works and the announcement of funding for stage four.

Aviation Minister, Gordon Rich-Phillips, visited Stawell yesterday to officially open the completed stage three works of the $4 million development and also announce funding for stage four.

As a result, Northern Grampians Shire Council has set its sights on undertaking further significant improvements at the Stawell Airport.

Minister Rich-Phillips visited Stawell yesterday to officially open stage three of the $4 million airport redevelopment and commit a further $215,000 from the Regional Aviation Fund to stage four of the project.

Mayor Cr Kevin Erwin said the Stawell Airport had undergone a dramatic transformation in the past five years.

"The redevelopment has been completed in three stages and has led to a significant increase in growth opportunities for local aviation businesses," he said.

"The third stage of the project has enhanced the facilities and public amenities at the airport and created improved conditions for air ambulances, fly-in-fly-out users and other visiting planes."

Works undertaken in the past 12 months as part of stage three include provision of a Non Precision Approach GPS facility for the runway 29 eastern approach to assist operators in inclement weather and night landings, creation of a terminal building with amenities, upgrade of the existing septic system, extension of aircraft apron parking, electrical work, resealing of airside areas, fencing and signage.

Cr Erwin said council welcomed today's funding announcement which would allow for further enhancement of the airport facilitiess.

"Stage four will enable Council to complete the airport redevelopment to a standard that will cater for all existing and expected future aircraft types for many years to come," he said.

"In addition to upgrading the fuel facility to allow 24/7 access by pilots, we will be able to provide a Non Precision Approach GPS procedure e to the main runway 11 western approach, connect the existing automatic weather information service to the landline telephone and install additional lighting and security fencing."

Cr Erwin said stage four would complete the first major upgrade of the airport since it was built in 1964. It is expected that more stages will be required as future development opportunities arise over the next few years.

"The Stawell Airport redevelopment has been a major success story for Council and the Regional Aviation Fund program, providing opportunities for new businesses to establish at the airport and existing businesses to expand their operations," he said.

"Job creation and retention is a key focus for us and the completion of the redevelopment will create additional development opportunities at the site.

"Council is actively looking for new business to establish at the airport."

Minister Rich-Phillips, who was joined at Stawell Airport yesterday by the Liberal candidate for Ripon, Louise Staley, said the latest grant of $215,000 brought the total support provided for the redevelopment under the Regional Aviation Fund (RAF) to $780,000.

"The Victorian Coalition Government is improving regional airports so that communities can continue to benefit from the important social contribution that airports make in areas including tourism, air freight and essential emergency services," Mr Rich-Phillips said.

"The Stawell Airport redevelopment is a great example of how the Regional Aviation Fund is revitalising our state's aviation industry by improving facilities and enhancing operational

capabilities of public-use regional airports.

"Stage 4 improvements at the Stawell Airport will not only enable more aircraft to use the airport, they will enhance safety and save pilots time by allowing them to use an alternative

approach when there are easterly winds."

Mr Rich-Phillips said the recently completed stage three improvements had made the airport suitable for larger aircraft and ensured it could be used at night and during inclement weather.

"This important upgrade included resurfacing of the runway, apron and taxiway and the extension of the aircraft parking apron, as well as the installation of new navigation aids, lighting, signage and perimeter security fencing," Mr Rich-Phillips said.

"This announcement by the Napthine Government today means that Stawell will continue to benefit from the contribution aviation makes to local economic growth," Ms Staley said.

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