The federal government will invest $66 million into upgrading Newcastle Airport's runway to international standard in next Tuesday's budget.
It is estimated the project, to be announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison at Williamtown on Friday, will create about 4400 full-time jobs, deliver an additional 850,000 visitors to the Hunter Region and add $12.7 billion to the local economy over the next 20 years.
"This will be a jobs boom for Newcastle and the Hunter Region," Mr Morrison told the Newcastle Herald.
"This investment will also deliver hundreds of thousands of extra tourists to the region, spending money in local businesses, while exporters in the region will be able to access increased freight flights into new international markets.
"This funding leverages our significant defence investments at RAAF Base Williamtown not only creating local economic benefits but also making it easier for the entire local community to travel domestically, and once open again, to travel internationally to many new locations."
The upgrade to international (Code E) status means larger aircraft like Boeing 777s and Airbus 330s can land in Newcastle, with twice daily international flights expected alongside increased daily direct domestic flights.
"This is another example of the government backing our aviation industry, including airports, to support planes in the air and jobs on the ground," Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said.
"This has included close to $3 million in support to Newcastle Airport to assist with security screening costs, supporting half-price flights to the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast through Qantas and FlyPelican and funding to maintain essential flights to and from the airport through the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic."
"This has ensured activity is sustained at the airport and today's announcement continues to back in this support to drive the economy and to maintain jobs for the Hunter region."
The runway upgrade will coincide with major works to the Williamtown RAAF base airfield in support of the F-35 fleet.
Construction is expected to start later this year and be completed in 2023, pending parliamentary approval.
The Department of Defence will ensure local businesses are contracted through a Local Industry Capability Plan.
Defence Minister Peter Dutton said the government was committed to position Defence to increase its strategic competition, now and into the future.
"The upgraded lighting and runway surface will bring the airfield in line with modern industry aviation standards. This is critically important to support the operation of fifth generation aircraft," he said.
"The improved drainage will allow the Australian Defence Force to support operations through heavy weather events, such as seen in NSW with the recent floods."
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Newcastle Airport chief executive Peter Cock told the Newcastle Herald this week that the airport had put forward a strong case for government investment.
" Importantly, our submissions and discussions have been supported extraordinarily well by all sectors of our community and for that we are very grateful," he said.
"We know that the delivery of a Code E runway at Williamtown will be a game changer for our region, creating an immediate and permanent stimulus to the local economy.
"With that in mind, we've been encouraged by our discussions at a senior government level and feel there is a genuine intent on their part to invest in the region."
Former Defence Minister Linda Reynolds expressed support earlier this year for the runway upgrade occurring with RAAF works.
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