Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and SA Premier Steven Marshall were among the dignitaries officially opening the Kangaroo Island Airport upgrade on Wednesday, July 4.
It was also announced that the Federal and State governments would pitch in $1.25 million each toward the cost overrun for the airport runway extension.
Kangaroo Island Council CEO Andrew Boardman said this meant the council would only need to find an additional $500,000 to $600,000 to fully fund the $21 million airport upgrade.
“The State Government has said that it recognises that this was to assist with a situation that was beyond the reasonable control of the council,” Mr Boardman said.
Mr Turnbuill meanwhile at the official opening said the upgraded Kangaroo Island airport would bring more tourists to South Australia and drive growth and investment in the local community as part of the Federal Government’s plan for a stronger economy.
“We’re backing business to invest and create jobs and the completion of the $18 million upgrade is expected to attract 25,000 new tourists and boost the Kangaroo Island economy by $29.8 million annually,” Mr Turnbull said.
“The upgraded airport will help extend Kangaroo Island’s tourism season and boost private sector investment. This means more families spending more, investing more and driving more jobs and confidence in the local community.
"”The upgrade, jointly funded by the Turnbull Government and South Australian Government, will help increase the island’s exposure to new domestic and international tourism markets.
“Both Governments have also agreed to assist Council in finalising the upgrade by providing an additional $2.5 million in total to help meet unexpected costs.”
A range of works, including improvements to the existing runway, taxiways and lighting, has raised the airport’s airside facilities to International Air Transport Association (IATA) Class C standards.
These works enable the airport to provide direct air access to east coast markets, which will help increase the number of domestic and international tourists.
Airport security has also been improved with the addition of a new check-in area, a secure departure lounge and revamps of the passenger and baggage screening area.
Visitors to Kangaroo Island Airport will benefit from a range of new services including a new retail area, an arrivals lounge, car-hire offices, storage facilities and a pick-up and drop-off area with an electric vehicle charging point.
These improvements will provide visitors to Kangaroo Island Airport with quality amenities, and make visiting the island more attractive.
This project supported 20 jobs during construction and will help sustain another six ongoing local jobs.
Also attending the opening was Liberal Party candidate for the Seat of Mayo, Georgina Downer.
It was selfies all around as Ms Downer, the SA Premier and Mr Turnbull had a tour of the new airport terminal building meeting council workers and others who had worked on the project.
Independent candidate for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie meanwhile had been calling on the Federal Government to contribute toward the project and welcomed the news of additional funding.