Update, 5.15pm: BENDIGO businesses are already seeing the benefits of flights to and from Sydney, Be.Bendigo chair Marika McMahon said.
"We're seeing members who are picking picking up work because they're able to go to Sydney," Ms McMahon said.
"We're seeing people who are able to work more easily because of these flights.
"We've heard of people moving to Bendigo because of this. It's making Bendigo the vibrant and prosperous centre that is Be.Bendigo's vision."
The QantasLink Bendigo service started on March 31.
Ms McMahon said the importance of the terminal expansion project was making sure Bendigo was not forgotten and was seen as place to do business in regional Australia.
"Bendigo has been forgotten, regarding that," she said.
"We haven't seen any funding that actually supports business development in Bendigo. This does. It gives us a profile on the Australia-wide stage and internationally, not only regarding tourism but regarding business.
"It makes Bendigo a great place to work."
Update, 4.51pm: FURTHER funding will be needed to make plans to upgrade the Bendigo Airport terminal a reality, even if a federal Labor government is elected.
The City of Greater Bendigo is seeking a $4.5 million contribution from the state government for the $10 million project.
Mayor Margaret O'Rourke said the state government had been very supportive of the city's plans for the airport, for QantasLink, and with the work that had gone into the business case for a Bendigo pilot academy.
"We've been able to demonstrate many times how well we can work with state and federal governments to deliver projects," Cr O'Rourke said.
She said Labor's announcement of $4.4 million if elected on May 18 was the first step in the airport terminal upgrade project.
Cr O'Rourke said the council would look to include the project in budgeting for the 2020-21 financial year, if a newly elected federal government funded the project.
They included a sealed car park, and extended baggage area, seating, as well as new internet and bathroom facilities.
"As you can see the terminal looks OK at the moment but it does need an upgrade, and also the business development works around the upgrade," Cr O'Rourke said.
The next phase of works would enable business development in the vacant land surrounding the airport.
The terminal building would also be expanded and upgraded, creating opportunities for new flight routes, larger aircraft and/or additional airlines.
"The community's response to the launch of Bendigo to Sydney Qantas flights has been incredibly positive," Cr O'Rourke said.
"We hope to have other routes or airlines operating out of Bendigo and it seems our community also wants this, so it will be necessary to have the infrastructure to support this demand."
She said the council hoped to have flights not just from Sydney but also from Adelaide and other destinations, and was working with QantasLink.
"Obviously, we've got to make sure we have very successful patronage on the flight from Sydney," Cr O'Rourke said.
She expected upcoming events in Bendigo to help drive demand for flights.
Update, 3.36pm: LIBERAL candidate for Bendigo, Sam Gayed says funding the expansion of the Bendigo Airport terminal at this stage would be premature.
"The government invested $5 million in the airport in phase one," Mr Gayed said.
"To announce this now, one month after phase one has started, is premature.
"Before you commit to a second phase, you need to see how the first phase is going."
The chartered engineer was full of praise for the airport terminal expansion project, which he said would be his priority task if he we was elected on May 18.
But Mr Gayed said it was a matter of when and how much money the federal government ought to commit.
"If the demand is much higher than the expectation then we'll need to assess the funds," he said.
He said Labor 'didn't know how to manage money', hence its commitment to the project.
Mr Gayed said Labor might realise it had under invested or over invested.
A Liberal government would invest once data indicating demand for services had stabilised.
"We'll know what are the actual figures and statistics compared to the feasibility study," Mr Gayed said.
He also believed a lack of strong representation in Canberra had contributed to the project being overlooked for funding by the government.
"Now we have a reason and we have a plan," Mr Gayed said.
Shadow Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government, Stephen Jones said Labor couldn't understand why the government hadn't already funded the project.
"It's got a lot of potential and I'm very excited about it," he said.
He said a Labor government would start working with the council from day one to ensure all the planning was done and the money was available when engineering work needed to be done.
"There will be no obstacle from the Commonwealth government. Our commitment is locked in. We will be a very excited partner in ensuring the airport development goes ahead," Mr Jones said.
Greens candidate for Bendigo, Dr Robert Holian said he was cautiously supportive of Labor's stance.
He said the Greens didn't have and wouldn't be releasing a specific policy about the Bendigo Airport prior to the election.
But Dr Holian recognised that the project had been a priority for the council for a long time and that it was needed.
"I think we need to go further and be thinking about other forms of transport," he said.
The Greens were more concerned with developing public transport. Dr Holian gave the example of high-speed regional rail.
EARLIER: THE City of Greater Bendigo will receive the $4.4 million it has been seeking from the federal government for an expanded airport terminal building, if Labor is elected.
It comes after the project failed to attract funding from the federal government's Building Better Regions Fund.
It was unclear whether the establishment of a $102.8 million Regional Airports Program, announced in the recent federal budget, would benefit the Bendigo Airport.
The $10 million terminal upgrade would enable the airport to meet aviation security standards for aircraft with over 30 passengers and provide opportunities for Qantas to expand its services in Bendigo.
The upgraded terminal would include an departure and arrivals areas, food and retail outlets, airline offices, security equipment and improved car parking.
Representatives from the council and Be.Bendigo were at the airport this morning for Labor's announcement.
Shadow minister for regional services, territories and local government, Stephen Jones, joined Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters, who is campaigning for a third term at this year's election, at the airport to make the promise.
The council would commit $1 million to the project.
A further $4.5 million would be sought from the state government.
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