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Flights offer boom to Broome

WITH three direct flights each week to Broome from the eastern States soon to be launched, the north-west tourist haven is becoming an alluring honey pot for business – fast tracking the town’s path to becoming the regional centre of the Kimberley.  

After 12 months of tough negotiations between Virgin Blue and a Broome consortium, the airline recently announced a weekly direct Adelaide to Broome flight, commencing on April 12.

The flight will compete with Qantas’s planned twice-weekly direct Melbourne to Broome service that will be in operation from March 30 to October 26.

Broome Chamber of Commerce president Ron Johnston said Virgin was expecting to mop up the market in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.

“It is actually quicker to fly Sydney to Adelaide to Broome than it is to fly Sydney to Melbourne to Broome,” he said.

Mr Johnston said he expected the direct flights from the east to have a positive effect on Broome real estate.

“There are already people from the eastern States who own property in Broome,” he said. 

“Broome real estate is relatively inexpensive compared to most capital cities and there is a real market for holiday homes or holiday unit apartments.”

The direct flights have also sparked interest from the flower industry.

Mr Johnston said the cut flower industry was interested because of the direct flights into Melbourne, which is the centre of the national flower industry.

“And because of our growing season we can service that market,” he said.

If fast food chains are anything to go by, Broome’s economic future is looking bright.

Both McDonald’s and Eagle Boys have recently set up shop in the town.

The Broome Chamber of Commerce is also wooing Platinum Australia Ltd and Sally Malay Mining in an effort to entice the companies to choose Broome as a fly-in-fly-out destination over Perth or Darwin.

Mr Johnston said his soon to be opened Kennedy’s Commercial Centre development was fully tenanted.

The $3 million commercial development contains 1,400 square metres of office space and tenants include Perth law firm Skea Hager & Co, Department of Health, and the Department of Planning and Infra-structure.

Skea Hager & Co partner Rod Hager said the firm had acquired offices in Broome in late 2002 and planned to install a senior associate and another solicitor on a full-time basis in the new offices.

“We are a commercial law firm that has been operating in Perth for the past seven years,” he said.

“We see Broome as the regional centre of the north-west. It has a developing market for legal services that is currently not well serviced.

“We are taking 150 square metres of office space, we are serious and committed to the long-term future of Broome.”

Mr Hager said that since the Bali disaster Broome was attracting more people and needed the support of Virgin.

“The sooner Virgin has a route from Perth to Broome the better it would be for business people and tourists,” he said.

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