One of the most frequent things I hear as a politician is that people just want things to get done.
They also want practical solutions, they can't stand waste and they hate it when politics gets in the way of a great idea.
With this in mind, I was pleased to read of the broad support for the upgrade of Newcastle Airport in the Herald last Saturday, including from my neighbour to the north and government member David Gillespie (Member for Lyne).
I welcome David's support.
It is the top priority of the Hunter Joint Organisation of Councils, backed at the other levels of government, endorsed by business and the community.
Here's why - a $75 million investment will add $12.7 billion to the regional economy and create more than 4400 jobs.
Half of the economic activity generated will come from the visitor economy and the other from additional freight activity.
Newcastle Airport has done the business case, they've invested time, effort and innovative thinking and now they need a modest injection of funds from the government to get it done.
There was good reason already to get started, but now it is imperative.
IN OTHER NEWS
The pandemic has decimated our airline and tourism industry and unemployment is skyrocketing.
Now more than ever we need the government to back this project and kickstart the regional economy.
The Hunter Region is a generator of wealth for Australia and can play a significant part in the national recovery.
We also have a time critical opportunity now to upgrade Newcastle Airport.
Defence is committed to starting significant maintenance work on the runway in 2021 to accommodate the Joint Strike Fighters.
While this once in a 20 year cycle maintenance is done, and the tarmac is being dug up, we should and must upgrade it to Code E standard to allow for long-haul flights.
I am in regular contact with Newcastle Airport's chief executive officer, Peter Cock, to help push this project forward.
The last time Parliament sat, I met with the Deputy Prime Minister to discuss the airport, and I have regular contact with Defence who are supportive of the plan.
There has been a renewed spirit of bipartisanship lately, and I will work with anyone in order to see this deserving project funded and delivered for our region and beyond.
Let's not waste this opportunity nor let politics get in the way of a great idea.
Meryl Swanson, Federal member for Paterson
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