Wagga Wagga City Council is seeking your support in the fight to retain the lease on a critical community asset, the Wagga Wagga Airport.

Our airport is one of the most significant regional transport gateways in NSW, providing essential services and connection for the region to the rest of Australia, for families, individuals, businesses, education, and health services, along with aviation training, maintenance, and general aviation.

Our current 30-year lease of the airport from the Commonwealth Department of Defence was due to expire in June 2025.

Federal Member for Riverina Michael McCormack announced on 22 May 2024, the decision to put the airport out to public tender for leasing has been put on hold until 30 June 2026.

While welcoming the additional 12 months, Council believes the need for community support is as strong as ever as we seek to secure a new and improved long-term lease of the airport, with better conditions, and not be disadvantaged for making improvements to this important facility.

This will ensure that Council is able to continue to deliver this essential community service, which is a critical social and economic lifeline for our local community and for the surrounding wider region.

Council remains concerned Defence will make a decision to privatise the airport through a commercial lease, a move we believe will impact on the community – pushing up costs of air travel and creating another barrier for people in the region.

We want to see the airport stay in the community’s hands; it plays a critical role as a social and economic lifeline for the whole region.

Advocacy Campaign

We have launched an advocacy campaign to fight for our airport’s future.

Council needs your support and advocacy now to let the Commonwealth Government know how privatisation of this vital infrastructure would impact you, your family, your business, or your organisation.

We are asking residents, businesses, regional councils and others to write letters of support for Council to retain the lease and operation of the airport by to the following:

  • Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, the Honourable Richard Marles MP; and
  • Member for Riverina, the Honourable Michael McCormack MP.

We have already received a number of letters of support and we are calling for further letters of support by 30 June 2024.

You can also add your voice of support by making a submission on this page, email it to us at council@wagga.nsw.gov.au or drop it in to the Customer Service team at our Civic Centre by 30 June 2024.

Following suggestions from the community, Council has also launched a petition to fight for our airport's future. The petition can be signed at the display in the foyer of the Civic Centre.

Wagga Wagga is the largest urban centre in the Riverina supporting a highly diverse economy that services a catchment population of 297,000 people, well beyond its local government area boundary.

Where other airports were gifted to communities, or sold to communities for a dollar, Wagga Wagga Airport is leased at around $200,000 per year, with any improvements to the airport paid for by the community but owned by the Commonwealth Government.

It is currently run with a community focus, with the emphasis on prioritising and optimising the broader economic and social needs to keep costs low for residents and businesses.

We believe the local community and broader Riverina region will be significantly impacted by a decision from Defence if they opt to privatise the airport instead of renewing Council’s lease.

The risk is this arrangement will be profit driven and cost increases will be passed onto airlines and members of the public using the airport, resulting in significantly reduced accessibility to services for residents and businesses, creating disadvantage for our communities locally and regionally.

There are also concerns a lack of access to an adequate and affordable community airport would also result in the community seeking alternative airport facilities, which would have economic and social impacts on our community.

Over the years, local ratepayers have paid funds towards all airport facilities, including runways, taxiways, and aviation infrastructure. If the airport is privatised this will benefit the new operator at the expense of ratepayers.

Council believes the airport should be treated as a community asset and should not be used for private enterprise to profit from.

Get involved now!

Key Dates

Friday 17 May 2024 to Sunday 30 June 2024

Online submissions and further letters of support

Send your letters to:

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, the Hon Richard Marles MP

Parliament Office

PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Email: Richard.marles.mp@aph.gov.au

Member for Riverina, the Hon Michael McCormack MP

Parliament Office

PO Box 6022

House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Email: Michael.McCormack.MP@aph.gov.au

Electoral Office

Suite 2, 11-15 Fitzmaurice Street
Wagga Wagga NSW 2650

Please also provide Council with a copy of any letters you forward through to Ministers so we can add these to our overall advocacy submission.

All advocacy information received by Council will be shared with all levels of government and all ministers to communicate the injustice that our community has been and is continuing to be subjected to by Defence.

Council is hopeful that through advocacy, the Commonwealth Government will reconsider its position and will not further disadvantage regional communities.