Construction group awarded $225m Coast airport upgrade
CONSTRUCTION firm John Holland Group has been awarded a $225 million contract to build a key piece of the Sunshine Coast Airport expansion.
The firm, which is also a major construction partner in the Maroochydore CBD project, was the winner of five shortlisted bids.
It is tasked with building a new 2,450m runway capable of handling aircraft up to the size of an Airbus A330 or Boeing 787.
Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said the build was his council's largest construction project.
The expansion is expected to create 2200 jobs on the Coast and return $4.1 billion to its economy in the next 20 years.
"The new runway will accommodate larger, more fuel-efficient aircraft and open up direct access for the Sunshine Coast to more Australian cities, international markets in Asia and the Western Pacific and in turn, drive significant economic growth," Cr Jamieson said.
Funding for the expansion has included a loan from the Federal Government to Sunshine Coast Council.
Member for Fairfax Ted O'Brien said he expected the expansion would translate to more than 1,500 direct and 650 indirect full-time jobs.
"As I made clear when the $181 million concessional loan was announced, my expectation is that construction of the international airport would maximise local content and maximise local jobs for Sunshine Coast residents," Mr O'Brien said.
He said the loan would be repaid from the proceeds the council received from Palisade Investment Partners when it leased the airport.
Cr Jamieson said the airport expansion was initially estimated to cost $347 million but the council was now very confident the project would be delivered for closer to $300 million.
"This is largely due to the terminal expansion being taken over by the airport operator Sunshine Coast Airport Pty Ltd.
"We can build this new runway for our future, without passing any enduring financial burden on to our community."
Sunshine Coast Chamber Alliance president Michael Shadforth was at Sunshine Coast Airport for yesterday's announcement.
He said there was doubt in the community five years ago the project would come to fruition.
"You could hear doubtful conversations all of the time," Mr Shadforth said.
But he said seeing the expansion becoming a reality showed the council could execute a plan.
"That demonstrates great leadership."
He said some Coast businesses that did export trade had already grown dramatically in the past two years and that would continue with the new infrastructure.
"We are well and truly on our way to being globally connected."