Wagga Wagga Council has commissioned a report to explore the “benefits” and “consequences” of not renewing the lease on its Commonwealth-owned airport.
The council’s lease on the airport land expires in 2025.
Councillor Paul Funnell said the request for the report was due to insufficient grant funding to properly upgrade the ageing airport.
The report will also look at maintaining the current arrangement at the airport and the feasibility of having the leased land gifted to the council.
The Commonwealth transferred 230 regional airports to local government ownership between 1992-93 under the Aerodrome Local Ownership Plan (ALOP) but retained ownership of four facilities, including Wagga airport.
The existence of an operational RAAF Base adjacent to the airport was the reason given for retaining control of the land.
However, the base has since been reclassified as a non-flying defence base and interactions between it and the taxiways and have been reduced.
According to the Committee for Wagga, the “unusual” airport leasing arrangements restrict growth and development activity and impede the council’s capacity to accumulate funds for much-needed capital improvements or upgrades to the facility and to make the precinct attractive to capital investment from the private sector.
“Prospective investors considering the land for development are unable to gain secure tenure of title from the council and therefore will continue to seek opportunities elsewhere,” the committee said last year.