Norseman airstrip campaign launches

13/8/2015

Federal Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson MP today launched the Norseman airstrip social media campaign encouraging all Goldfields-Esperance residents to sign an online petition to upgrade Norseman airstrip to an all-weather airstrip.

In a speech in Parliament, Mr Wilson said anyone who lives in the bush knows the RFDS provide the vital emergency help we need when things go wrong out in the regions.

“But if you're unlucky enough to need the RFDS near Norseman, their job becomes a whole lot harder,” Mr Wilson said.

Situated 200km between Kalgoorlie-Boulder and Esperance, the Norseman airstrip lies on Lake Cowan and in its current condition, after only a few millimetres of rain the runways are rendered unfit for landing and take-off.

“This means, if there is a requirement for aero-medical services, planes cannot land. Access to RFDS is critical not only for Norseman residents, but mining and industrial accidents and severe road trauma that could occur across the Nullarbor and between Kalgoorlie and Esperance,” he said.

The Shire of Dundas recently moved a motion to raise a $1.5 million loan to accompany any government funding secured but they need another $1.5 million to complete the all-weather airstrip.

“I'm working with the Shire of Dundas to make sure they apply for funding through the right channels.

“I’ve spoken to the Minister for Infrastructure and Regional to make sure he knows how important this issue is but we need to make our voices heard in Canberra.

“That’s why today I am launching the Norseman airstrip social media campaign.

“If we can demonstrate that people care about this issue, and feel strongly enough about it, that gives us a better chance of getting funding.

“I urge all Goldfields residents to support our campaign to upgrade the airstrip.

“You never know when you, or a family member, a friend, or complete strangers, might need the RFDS to come to your help near Norseman. It could, quite literally, be a matter of life or death.”

Mr Wilson said accidents are not uncommon in the regions with more than 56 per cent of fatalities occurring in regional WA despite just 22 per cent of the population living here.

Single vehicle run off is the dominant crash type across the state (54 per cent) and even higher in the regions (64 per cent).

“According to an RAC analysis, there were 16 fatalities in the Goldfields-Esperance region in 2014. This is nearly four times the state fatality rate and 6.5 times the metropolitan rate.

“Last year, the Goldfields-Esperance region was the third worst region in regional WA.”

According to Main Roads data, there were 120 crashes on the Coolgardie-Esperance Highway from 2010 -2014 - five of these were fatal.

Sign the petition to help Norseman build an all-weather airstrip at www.rickwilson.com.au.

ENDS

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