Lift-off for Lethbridge fuel facility

Media Release


05 September 2016

Joint release with:

Sarah Henderson

Federal Member for Corangamite

Regional Victoria's bustling tourism industry received a major boost today with the installation of a permanent fuel supply at Lethbridge Airport.

Minister for Regional Development, Fiona Nash, said the Australian Government invested $225,166 into this vital project, which now means more flights, more visitors and more investment in the local region.

“More aircraft are now able to operate directly from this regional hub as an alternative to metro areas such as Moorabbin and Essendon Airports or the Geelong Airport (formerly Grovedale Airport) which is now closed.

“The inclusion of access to Jet A1 Fuel is a key benefit for the region as it is used by the CFA, Air Ambulance and numerous commercial operations.

“The permanent fuel supply will support the growing tourism and commercial market in the region. It also provides critical operational capability for both firefighting assets and air ambulance helicopters servicing Western Victoria.

“Business operators need certainty when making a commercial decision to base their operations out of any airport, and a reliable fuel supply is an essential consideration for commercial aviation operators,” Minister Nash said.

Federal Member for Corangamite Sarah Henderson joined the local community today for the official opening of the project and reaffirmed that investing in the airport would almost double the airport's capacity and improve the region's capacity to deal with a range of other issues such as emergencies and natural disaster.

“Lethbridge Airport currently has capacity for 75—80 aircraft which are engaged in both commercial and private activities. This project will take that number to over 140, which could see an increase in the number of tourism and flight training operators in the area.

“It is anticipated each aircraft will undertake between 60 to 250 hours of flying per year, whether that be providing flights for tourists or transporting regional business travellers to Melbourne and beyond. In simple terms, this means new business and job opportunities for the region.”

“It will provide vital operational capability for emergency aircraft. This is a great outcome for the region, particularly as we enter the hot summer months when bushfires are at their peak,” Ms Henderson said.

“If we can minimise the damage from regional bushfires—whether that be to property or the natural landscape—while driving tourism to the region at the same time, it will help the area reach its economic potential.”

Minister Nash said the $450,333 project, funded through the National Stronger Regions Fund, formed part of the Australian Government's commitment to deliver the infrastructure regional Australia needs to thrive. To date this programme has invested more than

$505 million to more than 160 projects across Australia's regions.

Works on the Lethbridge Airport upgrade commenced in February 2016, with the fuel supply in operation since last week.

The Lethbridge Airport redevelopment fuel infrastructure is a jointly funded project with the Australian Government investing $225,166 and the Lethbridge Aircraft Pty Ltd contributing $225,167.