FEDERAL Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch has today welcomed the Coalition Government’s $1.5 million investment to upgrade airstrip facilities on Cape York as part of the Regional Aviation Access Programme.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss today announced that 39 remote communities, including Aurukun, Kowanyama and Lockhart River, will share in almost $9 million of specific funding for regional airstrips.
“This is fantastic news for these communities,” Mr Entsch said. “$840,000 funding will enable Kowanyama Aboriginal Shire Council to upgrade their perimeter fencing, runway lighting and drainage, and install a windsock.
“Lockhart River will receive $650,000 to repair and resurface aerodrome pavements and upgrade the runway drainage, while Aurukun Shire Council will receive $7500 to upgrade key electrical components at their airstrip.”
Mr Entsch said the upgrades will help assure the community that aviation safety obligations are up to scratch and that air services, such as the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Australia Post, freight and other air transport services, can continue to service local needs.
“Increasingly, regional communities depend on their airstrips for delivery of everyday goods and services, including medical care and supplies,” Mr Entsch explained. “A fully functioning airstrip helps to stem the disadvantage that distance can inflict on these communities, so making sure they are open and serviceable at all times is a priority.
“Today the Australian Government has delivered practical, sensible improvements to make our runways safe and more efficient. This investment is part of the Coalition’s commitment to regional and remote communities and to improving the nation’s infrastructure.”