May 12, 2009

New money to upgrade remote airstrips

New money to upgrade remote airstrips

MEDIA RELEASE

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

May 12 2009

The Rudd Labor Government has provided $3.0 million in the 2009-10 Budget to begin the process of upgrading airstrips in remote parts of the country, making them safer for aircraft.

For Australians living in remote communities, the local airstrip is a vital lifeline, providing access to essential supplies, fresh food, mail, educational material and medical care like that provided by the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

This is particularly important where road access is unavailable, unreliable or disrupted for extended periods during the wet season.

The airstrips to receive funding – and the work to be carried out – under our new Remote Aviation Infrastructure Fund will be selected by my Department following rigorous safety inspections.

The airstrips are those included in the Remote Air Services Subsidy Scheme.

The upgraded airstrips will move from a ‘charter’ safety standard to the higher ‘regular public transport’ standard.

If remote Australia is to continue reaping the economic and social benefits of aviation, we need to start investing now – and that’s precisely what the Government is doing in this year’s Budget.

The new Fund is in addition to the Government’s ongoing Remote Aerodrome Safety Program (RASP), which is helping local communities fund routine maintenance of and repairs to their airstrips.