The pleasing aspect of Anthony Albanese’s visit to Tamworth yesterday was that he was here to inspect progress on three very important infrastructure projects.
The federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport would have had more than a keen interest in the projects largely due to the fact that they are happening thanks to federal government funding.
The $4.2 million redevelopment and security upgrade to Tamworth Regional Airport might have enjoyed the smallest federal contribution but the work that has been achieved has the potential to earn Tamworth considerably more.
The airport is Tamworth’s jewel in the crown. It is already the busiest regional airport in Australia and also eclipses some of the metropolitan airports for activity.
Passenger numbers have increased through the airport by 10 per cent each year over the past decade. That trend is likely to continue with the percentage likely to also increase.
But it is not just passenger numbers which make the airport such a valuable piece of infrastructure.
It is estimated economically the airport is returning $80 million a year to the local economy, but it has the potential to return much more.
It is a well built, well maintained and well used facility with room for expansion. Aero industries are well suited to the facility because of its capacity and its full potential as an economic engine room is yet to be achieved.
Mr Albanese also inspected the New England North West Cancer Centre for which the federal government has contributed $33 million. And while at the hospital he viewed the future
redevelopment of the Tamworth Rural Referral Hospital which the government has contributed $120 million towards.
Tamworth has done very nicely out of the agreement the government struck with member for New England Tony Windsor. So has Armidale and other parts of the electorate.
It is always good to see a federal minister in the country and it’s even better when they come to look at where the money is being spent.