The Victorian Government is upgrading the West Sale Airport to meet Department of Defence requirements as a secondary airport to the RAAF Base East Sale.

Victorian Minister for Regional Development, Jaala Pulford, and Minister for Industry and Employment, Wade Noonan, announced $5 million in funding for the upgrade.

“The Andrews Labor Government was elected to put people first – this is great news for Sale, Gippsland and Victoria, paving the way for economic growth and jobs in the region,” Ms Pulford said.

The $5.95 million upgrade will be delivered by Wellington Shire Council and includes the resurfacing and lengthening of the West Sale Airport runway to meet Department of Defence requirements.

This upgrade is critical to the Department of Defence Pilot Training System (AIR5428) Project, which is set to provide the Australian Defence Force with a new fixed wing Pilot Training System.

The AIR5428 project will provide the infrastructure and platforms necessary to conduct pilot candidate screening and selection and will cover all areas of undergraduate pilot training.

AIR5428 will see the relocation of the Australian Defence Force’s basic flight training from NSW to East Sale by January 2019, with the upgrade of West Sale Airport due for completion by December 2018.

It is expected to create more than 500 new full time jobs and will inject $2 billion into the Victorian economy over the contract period.

By increasing the number of defence industry personnel permanently based in the region, the project will have positive flow on effects for Sale’s economy and the surrounding region.

Victoria’s defence sector contributes up to $8 billion to the Victorian economy annually, includes more than 300 businesses and directly employs around 7000 people.

Mr Noonan said, “For the last two years we’ve delivered on the things that matter most to people – this upgrade will support more than 500 jobs in Gippsland, boost the local economy and enhance Victoria’s defence industry.”

Member for Eastern Victoria, Harriet Shing, said, “Gippsland is such a great place to live, work and do business – we’re partnering with communities throughout the region to build better infrastructure that makes the most of our potential.”

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