- More than $400,000 allocated to upgrades at three remote airstrips in the O’Connor electorate under Round 4 of the Australian Government’s $33.7 million Remote Airstrip Upgrade Programme
Airstrips at Walpole, Ravensthorpe and Tjuntjuntjara in Western Australia will be upgraded using more than $418,000 from Round 4 of the Remote Airstrip Upgrade Programme.
Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said 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.
“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.
“These airstrip upgrades will ensure people living in these three regions 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 O’Connor Rick Wilson said the upwards of $418,000 in funding would see the commencement of upgrade works at airstrips at Walpole, Ravensthorpe and Tjuntjuntjara.
“Many people living in cities may not be aware of the importance of these airstrips in connecting people living in remote communities,” Mr Wilson said.
“For communities situated hundreds of kilometres from the nearest regional centre, access by air is critical in responding to emergency situations.
“Commercial flights to and from Ravensthorpe ceased in early 2016 and I’ve been working with private operators on the potential to restore services to that community. Better facilities at the town’s airstrip will make Ravensthorpe a more attractive option for interested airlines so this is a positive step towards reinstating commercial flights.
“I am pleased to see the Australian Government continue to invest in improving the quality of life in our regions.”