Airport funding announcement

Coalition promises airport expansion loan

LATEST: FAIRFAX LNP candidate Ted O'Brien has pledged, if elected with a Coalition Government, to have the Commonwealth assessment of the State Government airport expansion approval settled within three weeks post-election.

From there, dealings will continue to determine just how much the concessional loan will be that is provided by the Federal Government.

The council has sought $181 million but it remains to be seen whether the full amount is loaned to kickstart the expansion.

The new Sunshine Coast international airport is set to be open for business by Christmas 2020.

Fairfax LNP candidate Ted O'Brien, Sunshine Coast mayor Mark Jamieson and Fisher LNP candidate Andrew Wallace at the Sunshine Coast Airport.
Fairfax LNP candidate Ted O'Brien, Sunshine Coast mayor Mark Jamieson and Fisher LNP candidate Andrew Wallace at the Sunshine Coast Airport. Scott Sawyer

UPDATE: MORE details of the funding announcement are set to be revealed in about 15 minutes in a press statement at the Sunshine Coast Airport.

We'll keep you updated as details come through.

The Sunshine Coast Airport expansion has received a loan commitment from the Coalition.
The Sunshine Coast Airport expansion has received a loan commitment from the Coalition. Contributed


EARLIER: SUNSHINE Coast Council has confirmed the Federal Government will provide a loan for the expansion of the Sunshine Coast Airport.

The council was seeking a $180 million concessional loan to help deliver the $347 million airport expansion project and Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson this morning announced Prime Minister Turnbull's office have committed to providing the loan.

A concessional loan will be given once the Federal Government completes its due diligence of the approval given by the Queensland coordinator general in May.

Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt will also have to give his final approval of the guarantee given for the Council's borrowings.

The project was subject to an additional environmental impact statement before the State coordinator general gave it the green light.

The council says the project will deliver a $4.1 billion contribution to the Coast economy through to 2040.

Cr Jamieson said Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt had given in-principle support for the council to progress with the concessional loan.

"Council is very pleased to receive this commitment from the Prime Minister," Mayor Jamieson said.

"While there is still some work to be done to obtain the final approval of the concessional loan, I am confident that this can be advanced as quickly as possible to the satisfaction of all parties.

"As I said, there is still some work to be done to obtain that final approval, but should the Turnbull Government be re-elected, I look forward to working with them to get this in place as quickly as possible."

The airport expansion had been a subject of strong public debate in some quarters with questions over the business case and whether a $347 million commitment was required.

The additional EIS ordered by the coordinator general's office was given approval in mid-May, opening the door for the council to push the case for the loan during a marathon Federal Election campaign.

The airport expansion is one of the three big infrastructure priorities for the region, alongside Bruce Hwy upgrades and rail duplication.

The council says delivery of an international airport to the region would not only boost tourism but also open up the region to greater trade opportunities through international import/export and air freight.

The commitment comes after last week's $250,000 commitment to assist with business case development and investment strategies for a Coast undersea broadband cable.

"Both the concessional loan for the airport expansion and advancing our work on the international broadband submarine cable are high priorities for our council in terms of what we have been looking for from the major parties during the Federal election campaign," Cr Jamieson said.

"We have always said that the submarine cable is an initiative that is of national significance and offers enormous economic benefits to not only the Sunshine Coast but also the rest of Queensland.

The Coast's Mayor said Infrastructure Australia had identified the Coast as one of five cities outside of capital cities that would be a focal point of future productivity, and therefore should be supported by govenments, business and local communities to grow their populations and economies.

"The commitments we have received from the Federal Coalition will certainly help our region to become a leading smart city for the 21st century," Cr Jamieson said.


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