The City of Albany will seek Federal Government funding for a major upgrade to Albany Regional Airport in the first round of the Growing Regions Program. An expressions of interest period to support capital works projects with up to $15 million funding will close on August 1. On Tuesday, the council unanimously endorsed a recommendation for an EOI to seek the maximum possible funding through the program to go towards the delivery of a master plan understood to cost about $30 million. Cr Greg Stocks told the council the costs associated with the City’s proposal to improve the airport had grown from $9m to $30m “over the space of about 15 months”. He said upgrading the airport was something “we need to do” as bigger planes would allow for improved trade opportunities, better deals for residents and greater opportunities for fly-in, fly-out employees to be based in the region. “The target for a particular resource company is to have 450 people living in Albany and flying out of our airport,” he said. “There will be wages that come with that and families will be residing in our city because we have a better airport — but the company can’t delay that decision forever and at some point, the crunch is going to come. “For us to put this forward is imperative and absolutely necessary.” An EOI will also be submitted seeking $600,000 for the City’s Restoring Places kinjarling djinung maat project. A report prepared for councillors states the knowledge-sharing project is an effort by the City to recognise “the unique natural, cultural and historical significance of the place”. “The process focuses on fostering local ownership, returning knowledge to country and conserving world-recognised biodiversity whilst providing inspirational visitor experiences, including the implementation of the Irrerup Ladder,” the report states. “This project is a key component of the legacy infrastructure proposed as part of the 2026 Bicentenary, both to develop key tourism projects and support the delivery of the events program.” Cr Chris Thomson told the council he had done work examining the value of similar efforts and said “if we can pull this one off it will be magnificent”. The report indicates a budget amendment will need to be considered by the council if GRP funding for the airport upgrade is secured because a condition of the funding would be for the City to match the contribution. It also states the City is in discussions with State Government departments in an effort to obtain further funds for the project. The requisite funding required to match a successful GRP funding application for the Restoring Places project is already included in the 2023-24 annual budget.