Thursday, 18 March 2021
Statements by Members
Infrastructure Australia has this week launched its list of priority projects across the country, and I was absolutely delighted that the Newcastle Airport capacity expansion has now made its way onto this important planning document. As many in this House are aware, I have been a strong advocate of further investment in this nation-building project.
As the report highlights, the runway at Newcastle Airport not only serves passenger and freight aircraft but primarily supports Royal Australian Air Force operations, including the new F-35A fighter jets. The terminal and runway, however, can't currently accommodate regular long-range code E aircraft. Using those code E aircraft would allow the airport to expand flight range beyond Oceania to Singapore, the Middle East and the Americas. The current limitations of the terminal and, most importantly, the runway impact inbound and outbound flights and restrict the airport to domestic destinations and destinations in Oceania. Therefore, many passengers and a lot of freight have to go through Sydney or Brisbane for international travel.
Infrastructure Australia's report records that more than 1.27 million passengers used the airport in 2019, and this will grow to 2.6 million by 2036. Upgrading Newcastle Airport's runway will not only enable deep-cycle maintenance for Defence aircraft but mean extra passengers and freight for the whole of northern New South Wales. (Time expired)