Airport must be saved
THE FRASER Coast’s most powerful politician, Warren Truss, has thrown his total support behind retaining Maryborough Airport at all costs.
The Federal Member for Wide Bay and leader of the National Party has called for an immediate end to speculation that the Maryborough airport may close.
Mr Truss said it is simply unthinkable to leave the city of Maryborough without an airport.
“While it is disappointing that the airport is not now used to its full potential, it remains an excellent facility for a city of Maryborough’s size and is essential if Maryborough’s industry is to survive and prosper,” Mr Truss said.
“We live in hope that one day commercial air services will be resumed.
“With the decline in services at the Maryborough hospital, the airport has become a critical piece of medical infrastructure.
“It was a tragedy when the flight training school was lost to Maryborough. The flying school would have been the most important project to come to the Fraser Coast in our life times, employing many and providing a new international focus for the city.
“Unfortunately, for the Fraser Coast, other cities are now benefiting from our unwillingness to embrace this development,” Mr Truss said.
“But the Maryborough airport remains an ideal site for pilot training and other aeronautical activities. Those operating businesses at the airport must be encouraged and given confidence to invest and expand, not threatened with uncertainty.”
Mr Truss said Maryborough had a long and distinguished aviation heritage.
“When the Commonwealth Government transferred airports to local communities under the Local Ownership Plan many years ago, it was conditional on the sites continuing to be used for airport purposes.
“Closing the airport and leaving Maryborough without an airport, is not an option.”
Mr Truss said he supported the council undertaking master plans for the Hervey Bay and Maryborough airports, but the planning process must be used to provide impetus for a determined marketing effort to encourage new users to the airport and to support existing operations.
“After what has happened in the past, the council must put out a clear and decisive welcome mat to those who want to make use of our airport facilities.”