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Opening of the Western Concourse Terminal, Canberra Airport - 13 March 2013

SPEECH BY STEPHEN BYRON

ACT Chief Minister, Katy Gallagher
Federal Minister for Transport, Anthony Albanese
Deputy Chief Minister Andrew Barr
John Borghetti, CEO Virgin Australia

Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls

I’m delighted to welcome you here today to help us celebrate the completion of the Western Concourse Terminal and in so doing also celebrate Canberra’s 100th birthday.

When our family purchased Canberra Airport almost 15 years ago, what was here was little more than a tin shed in a sheep paddock.

But my father Terry Snow had a clear vision for Canberra Airport to become the best small airport in the world. What you see here today reflects his passion, ambition and drive to get it done. So, thank you, Terry.  Thank you for the opportunity of working with you and I say that not just for me but on behalf of the thousands who have helped put this together.

Canberra Airport truly is the first impression people get of our city. We want people to understand that Canberra has come of age. It is a modern, sophisticated, vibrant city and people should understand that as soon as they walk in here.

Today we are one step closer to realising Terry’s vision. Of course, there’s a little bit more work to do. There is the matter of demolishing the remainder of the old terminal – this “old beast” – completing another two aerobridges and three or four months spent completing the international facilities, but certainly by Christmas, we’ll be there.

By the end of the year we will see the true completion of construction on what will be ultimately a $480 million investment including those international facilities.

Today is not really the time to be mentioning individuals, in fact many of the hard workers are home in bed, having worked through the night.  But I want to thank the architects Guida Moseley Brown, the construction managers Construction Control and my team at Canberra Airport have done a splendid job.  I congratulate you.

I particularly want to praise the workmanship of those workers who have put so much into making this happen on site over the past four years. Last week there were 500 workers on site.  They worked all through the long weekend.  You and your families should feel very proud of what you’ve delivered.

It’s worth remembering that due to the Global Financial Crisis, this project was almost stopped dead in its tracks.  We actually put it on hold on 30 September 2008 as the banks collapsed around the world. But the Australian Government supported the Australian financial system, delivered a guarantee on deposits and we needed all four ‘big’ Australian banks for this development, so it certainly helped.

So it was on 8 April 2009 that a member of Cabinet that put in place that rescue package, Anthony Albanese, turned the first sod on the Southern Concourse Terminal (the first half) and it was one of the first major infrastructure projects to commence at the height of the GFC.

Like Minister Albanese, the ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher has been a regular and great supporter of Canberra Airport.  We were delighted that she was here to unveil the foundation stone for this Western Concourse Terminal in August 2011.  And I might add that the two of them have delivered on the Majura Parkway – a 50/50 funding partnership.  They have been the two that have made that happen and it will make Canberra Airport so much more accessible to people in the city and the region.

We have just come from the opening of Virgin’s new Lounge and I want to congratulate John Borghetti on what is simply one of the finest club lounges for an airline anywhere in the world. It’s a fantastic product for his passengers but it is also a significant investment and vote of confidence in our city and its future.  John was instrumental in making this terminal become a reality because he was the person with who whom we struck the original deal when he was at Qantas.  So to John I say thank you for all you have done for Canberra Airport.

Yesterday, Canberra celebrated her 100th birthday, and today we come of age with a gateway that befits the national capital of a modern, sophisticated, and innovative nation.

I would now like to invite you to help us celebrate Canberra’s 100th birthday and the completion of the Western Concourse Terminal.