Horsham will take the first step towards realising its potential as a regional flight hub as part of a $240,000 Liberals and Nationals plan.
The funding will be used for a Horsham Aerodrome masterplan to guide development for the coming 20 to 50 years and pave the way for a domestic airline to begin operating in Horsham.
Leader of The Nationals, Peter Walsh, said a visionary plan would ensure the aerodrome could not only improve its existing service offerings for flying training, recreational use and emergency service flights, but also capitalise on a range of new opportunities in business, employment and tourism sectors.
“Through investment and innovation, we can ensure that Horsham Aerodrome is ready to play a major role in helping the region attract and capitalise on the many business, tourism and travel prospects, while also giving locals greater connectivity to larger centres,” Mr Walsh said.
“We need to prepare now and ensure we have the right provisions and infrastructure in place take advantage of those opportunities.”
Deputy Leader of the Nationals and Member for Lowan, Emma Kealy, said the aerodrome has a large cohort of users.
“A key part of the planning process for this development will be working with adjacent landholders and existing aerodrome user groups to ensure their views are considered and respected,” she said.
“This masterplan will ensure the aerodrome continues to cater for recreational users and its current operations, but will also expand its capacity to provide services that will help generate investment and jobs, and ultimately ensure we have the facilities and are all set to secure a regular domestic airline to the Wimmera.
“For our region to continue to grow and thrive, we need to aim to have the same level of services as other rural and regional centres, many of which offer domestic flights.
“The Nationals have started conversations with airlines that fly into regional centres across Australia to get a sense of what they need to attract a domestic air service, and to start gaining interest for a service for Horsham in the future.
“Access to domestic flights would unlock a new world of possibilities for the Wimmera. The Horsham Aerodrome masterplan, made possible with funding from the Liberals and Nationals, will form the building blocks that will set this aspiration in motion.”