Wagga City Council has turned to the candidates in the upcoming federal election in the hope of finding a solution to the long-running feud with the federal government over the Wagga Airport.
The city's councillors voted on Monday night for mayor Dallas Tout to contact each of the eight candidates seeking election in the seat of Riverina regarding the issue.
The mayor will seek confirmation on whether or not the candidates will commit to renewing Wagga City Council's lease of the airport, which expires in 2025, and that the Commonwealth will take responsibility for the maintenance costs of the airport.
He will also ask the candidates to commit to getting the federal government to fund the expansion and upgrade of the airport's passenger terminal.
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Council is currently one of just two NSW local governments that does not own its own airport, instead leasing it off the Department of Defence for about $200,000 each year.
The deal has been a long-running source of frustration for the council, largely due to the belief the lease has caused the airport to miss out on millions of dollars worth of grants and potential upgrades.
Councillor Tout said the decision was made last week to use the upcoming federal election to reignite the stalled discussions over the site.
"The decision was made to put up a mayoral minute tonight to take advantage of the upcoming election ... to ensure we get some commitments or non-commitments from the candidates," Cr Tout said.
Among the most vocal supporters of the move was Cr Rod Kendall, who said it would ensure the council is well aware of the next Member for Riverina's stance on the topic.
"If we get a commitment from all of the candidates, one of those candidates will ultimately be our next local member, so getting that commitment from all of them is critically important," he said.
Labor councillor Dan Hayes questioned the lack of action to solve the issue from the electorate's current federal member Michael McCormack.
He also warned that if a better deal is not arranged, Wagga City Council could be forced to increase fees for airlines and passengers at the airport.
The call to contact the election candidates was supported unanimously by Wagga's nine councillors.
Cr Tout said he would begin reaching out to the election candidates to garner their views from Tuesday, May 3.
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