– Almost $1 million allocated to upgrade the Northern Peninsula airstrip under Round 4 of the Australian Government’s $33.7 million Remote Airstrip Upgrade Programme
A vital aerodrome servicing remote communities in far north Queensland will receive almost $1 million in Federal funding for important upgrade works.
Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said $988,360 in funding under Round 4 of the Remote Airstrip Upgrade Programme would be invested in the Northern Peninsula airstrip near Bamaga.
“The tyranny of distance is a way of life for many of our most remote communities, and safe and functioning airstrips are often the only reliable means of transport for freight and urgent services,” Mr Chester said.
“This airstrip upgrade will ensure that residents across Cape York have continued access to essential health care services including emergency medical evacuations as well as improved access to work and education opportunities.
“Having access to fresh food and water, and indeed access to communities hundreds of kilometres away, is an underappreciated fact in many cities, but for residents in remote communities it is essential. Given smaller aircraft often service these communities, simple measures such as providing a smooth runway or keeping wildlife away can make all the difference in a safe landing.”
Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch welcomed the investment in the airstrip and congratulated the Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council (NPARC) for its comprehensive efforts in recent years to secure funding for the airport upgrade.
“Many people living in cities may not be aware of the importance of these airstrips in connecting people living in remote communities,” Mr Entsch said.
Mr Entsch said Bamaga Airport was built very quickly during WWII; at the time issues relating to drainage were not addressed and are now causing significant problems given the heavier aircraft in use today and successive wet seasons.
“The Northern Peninsula upgrade will use these funds to improve drainage at the airstrip, giving residents more reliable access to services during the wet. The funding for this upgrade forms a significant portion of the Round 4 allocation across Australia. I am delighted to see the Australian Government continue to invest in our community, particularly through key transport upgrades such as this.”
The funding was part of the Australian Government’s announcement in the 2015-16 Budget of $33.7 million over four years to fund upgrades for remote community airstrips across Australia.