Redman anger over ‘tin shed’

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Warren-Blackwood MLA Terry Redman.
Camera IconWarren-Blackwood MLA Terry Redman. Credit: The West Australian

Warren-Blackwood MLA Terry Redman has continued to force the WA Government’s hand on delaying tactics around Busselton Airport’s passenger terminal amid fiery scenes in Parliament this week which nearly saw him kicked out.

A co-ordinated attack from Mr Redman and hundreds of tourism operators from the Busselton Airport Action Group was aimed to deliver something other than “a tin shed” for the expected 80,000 interstate tourists due to hit the region when Jetstar flights start in March.

But the protest group looks to be pushing the proverbial uphill, with Labor firm on their refusal to build the terminal until post-“trial” analysis of the flights.

“The City of Busselton will be building a tin shed as the reception lounge at the airport prior to new Jetstar flights landing,” Mr Redman said to Premier Mark McGowan in Parliament.

“Do you think this is acceptable for a flight service that is committed to three flights per week for three years with up to 80,000 passengers?

“Why should regional WA accept this compromise when you would never accept tin sheds as reception lounges in Perth?”

Mr Redman was threatened with ejection by the Speaker of the House during the debate as tempers flared and the Premier told him to keep out of Vasse MLA Libby Mettam’s electorate — though Mrs Mettam also wanted the terminal built.

There were “all sorts of great initiatives in tourism ... occurring across WA,” Mr McGowan said.

“Tourism is flourishing, and all we get from the National Party is this unrelenting ball of negativity. We’ve got Jetstar flying into Busselton and you’re not happy,” he said.

“While you are looking at the negative, the people of WA are far more positive than you are.

“All the advice we have is the existing facilities are what Jetstar has asked for and are happy with.”

Mr Redman previously used Freedom of Information laws to argue the South West Development Commission backflipped on advice that the terminal was crucial, and he questioned the origin of treating Jetstar flights as a “trial”.

Action group spokeswoman Debbie Noonan said more than 1000 members wanted the Government to stop stonewalling.

“(We) believe (the terminal) is a vital piece of infrastructure that will ensure the success and growth in tourism in the Busselton-Margaret River region,” she said.

“The current State Government has done everything in its power to try to stop or delay this essential part of the project for the region.”

The terminal was needed to capitalise on the Jetstar flights, but operators were dark at the Government ignoring lobbying from operators and local governments.

“For the Government to ask tourism businesses in our region to invest and support this ‘three-year trial’ while they themselves refuse to do the same shows a lack of confidence in those living and working in the tourism industry in our region,” Mrs Noonan said. The action group called on Labor to “back the tourism industry” by advancing terminal construction at once.

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