THE second stage of the multimillion dollar Mareeba Airport upgrade was officially opened on Wednesday, with prominent politicians from both the State and Federal Governments on hand to unveil a landmark moment in the history of Mareeba.
Mareeba Shire Mayor Tom Gilmore said the airport started as a Second World War airstrip, and while it had seen improvements over the years, its full potential could not have been reached without significant assistance to rejuvenate and expand it.
“This is a significant moment for Mareeba Shire and the Far North Queensland region. The upgrade we see now completed, has only been made possible through assistance from the Queensland and Australian governments,” Mayor Gilmore said.
“On behalf of the community, I offer my deepest appreciation to both levels of government for making this development come to fruition.
“This facility provides the opportunity for the general aviation maintenance and flight training facilities to be further developed over time which will provide economic growth and employment
of youth in this exciting industry.
“I anticipate that over the next decade, this facility will see the employment of hundreds of people involved in high-level aviation.”
Cr Gilmore tearfully thanked all those involved who contributed significantly to ensuring this project got off the ground.
“From my perspective this is one of the most important things I have seen happen in my time of local government,” he said.
The upgrade will see more aviation jobs, training opportunities and a wide range of economic benefits delivered to the Far North.
Representing the Premier, Member for Cook Cynthia Lui joined Mareeba Shire Mayor Tom Gilmore and other dignitaries at the opening.
“This $23 million project is an investment in Far North Queensland’s regional aviation capabilities and an investment in Mareeba’s future,” Ms Lui said.
“More than 70 construction jobs have been supported across the two stages, but that’s just the start.
“The upgraded airport will create economic fl ow into Mareeba, the Shire and Tablelands, and support at least 200 jobs as a result.
“I congratulate Mareeba Mayor Tom Gilmore, the Mareeba Shire Council and local contractor FGF Developments for delivering it.”
Stage 1 was opened in March this year which involved the construction of a new commercial precinct with 52 fully-serviced lots suitable for aviation-related businesses, along with upgrades to surrounding roads, a new airport water main and renewal of airport fencing.
The project was jointly funded by the State and Federal Government.