Member for Bega Andrew Constance has announced a further $4m of state funding for the works at Merimbula Airport.
Speaking at the airport on Thursday afternoon (December 12) Mr Constance said it was about future proofing the airport and encouraging other airlines such as Qantas and Virgin, along with existing provider Rex, to think about getting bigger planes to fly in to Merimbula.
The money will be used for taxiways, hangars and upgrading of some airside amenities and brings the NSW state contribution to $8m in total.
Bega Valley Shire mayor Kristy McBain said there had been interest from businesses and people not currently involved with the airport to locate in commercial premises there and the extra funding would help in growth of the commercial sector at the airport.
Commercial development will take place on the northern strip adjacent to the runway. Council's director assets and operations Anthony McMahon said that existing businesses would also be moved into the new area to ultimately free up space at the southern end of the airport for increased parking.
"Given the location it's perfect for aviation. My intention in lengthening the runway is to get larger aircraft in," Mr Constance said.
Given the location it's perfect for aviation. My intention in lengthening the runway is to get larger aircraft in.Bega MP Andrew Constance
However the extra funding will not be sufficient to do the lengthening work at the airport and will be supporting money for a $4.5m federal grant for which council has applied. The federal grant requires matching funding from council.
But much of the talk was around the drought with Mr Constance saying the state funding was "from John Barilaro's (NSW Deputy Premier) drought program".
Earlier in the day Mr Constance and NSW Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW, Adam Marshall, visited the Heffernans Candelo farm to hear first hand about the impacts of the drought on the farm.
"We're worried about the effects of the drought and we are stimulating drought economies," Mr Constance said.
"We're looking at extending the amount of water that farms can be capture (currently 10 per cent). Farmers have told us if they could capture more water they would make the investment in dams," Mr Constance said following his visit.