Much needed rain will no longer ground scenic, charter or flights for industry at Wentworth Aerodrome with the NSW Government announcing $8.4 million from the Growing Local Economies fund for major runway and infrastructure upgrades.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro and Member for Murray Austin Evans said upgrades to the aerodrome’s runway, tarmac, taxiway, lighting and communications capabilities would enable medium-sized turboprops carrying 21 passengers to use the airport for the first time.

Wentworth Shire Council Deputy Mayor Tim Elstone, Member for Murray Austin Evans and Mayor Melisa Hederics.

Mr Evans said as little as 5mm of rain falling on the dirt runway can currently force the aerodrome to close for several days and sealing the main runway would allow aircraft to operate in all weather conditions.

“Greater capacity will benefit local growers and graziers using aircraft for crop dusting, mustering and aerial surveys as well as allow tourism, corporate and mining charters to make use of the aerodrome,” Mr Evans said.

“Upgrading the aerodrome will also enable students from the pilot training school at Mildura Airport to be based at Wentworth Aerodrome, which will provide economic flow on benefits to local businesses.

“Greater access will also assist emergency service agencies such as NSW Police, NSW Rural Fire Service, NSW State Emergency Service, Royal Flying Doctors and Air Ambulance when they are staging operations or conducting flights.

Mr Barilaro said the NSW Government was taking action to provide businesses with the infrastructure they need to succeed, allowing them to focus on expanding their operations and creating new jobs.

“Upgrading the aerodrome will provide opportunities for local industries to work more efficiently and grow their business, benefiting the local economy and creating more job opportunities,” Mr Barilaro said.

“More directly, the Wentworth Aerodrome project will create 37 full time equivalent jobs during construction and up to 35 training and accommodation industry jobs when upgrades are complete.

“This is exactly what Growing Local Economies grants are intended to do and I congratulate Wentworth Shire Council on this funding win and look forward to seeing the growth and benefits that this project will generate.”

The $500 million Growing Local Economies Fund is part of the NSW Government’s commitment to the delivery of infrastructure projects which improve the productivity and competitiveness of the state under Restart NSW.

Growing Local Economies is one of the programs in the $1.6 billion Regional Growth Fund, which is delivering the economic, infrastructure and lifestyle improvements that make regional NSW a great place to live, work and play.

For more information, visit: www.nsw.gov.au/regionalgrowth.