Direct flights to open new doors for Bunbury Geographe

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Bunbury Geographe region and tourism set to benefit from Busselton to Melbourne direct flights.
Camera IconBunbury Geographe region and tourism set to benefit from Busselton to Melbourne direct flights.

Direct flights between Busselton and Melbourne would “unquestionably” have flow-on benefits for the Bunbury Geographe region.

That is according to Bunbury Mayor Gary Brennan who said “should” the announcement happen on Friday, it would be great news for the entire region.

After nearly two years of negotiations, Jetstar Airways will operate a heavily subsidised service with the announcement tipped to be made on Friday.

Busselton Mayor Grant Henley, along with Jetstar, were remaining tight-lipped about the deal but a decision either way was imminent.

Mr Brennan told the South Western Times that he understood the announcement would happen and it would be a massive boost for Bunbury Geographe.

“Should the announcement be made, it will be great news for not only the people of Busselton and surrounding areas, but for the entire South West,” Mr Brennan said.

“It represents a significant opportunity to get direct flights, plus the fact that we don’t have to travel to Perth and pay the high parking fees – from a convenience factor it’s going to be a great boost.

“Also the next part of this whole equation is basically getting international cargo flights between the South West of WA and one of the biggest markets of the world, South East Asia.

“I’m looking forward to that stage being reached as well into the future.”

It would be a deal that South West councils will undoubtedly celebrate, with several local governments dipping into ratepayers’ pockets to contribute to the City of Busselton’s Future Airport Marketing Fund.

Partners of that fund include the Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association, Australia’s South West, Bunbury City Council and shires of Harvey, Dardanup, Manjimup, Capel, Collie and Nannup.

Since 2017, Bunbury City Council has contributed $10,000 per year and will continue to do so under a five-year agreement.

Mr Brennan said while the focus would initially fall on the Margaret River region, it would eventually roll out to other areas.

“The entire South West has got a range of attractions which we know about and it won’t take long for the marketing private sector to identify more of those attractions and that will mean that more people will visit beyond the traditional Margaret River, Busselton areas,” he said.

“It will include the Ferguson Valley, the Donnybrook areas, Harvey, Capel and then much further inland to the beautiful timber country of Pemberton and Manjimup.”

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