Orroroo and Jamestown airstrips are among 60 nationally to receive a share of $41.2 million Federal Government funding through the Regional Airports Program.
The District Council of Orroroo Carrieton has been awarded $55,055 for fencing and lighting work, while Jamestown Flying Group Inc received $20,500 to upgrade CFS water bombing access including sealing of the taxiing and refuelling areas to improve efficiency and safety for firefighting aircraft.
District Council of Orroroo Carrieton chief executive officer Dylan Strong welcomed the funding news, with council to match ‘dollar-for-dollar’ the grant amount.
“We’ve had a fairly serious problem with kangaroos and emus on our airstrip, so much so that at times we haven’t been able to get the RFDS (Royal Flying Doctor Service) onto it,” he said.
“Generally council can get out and clear the animals off the strip, but other times when we’re unable to clear it and make it safe to land on planes have had to divert to Peterborough or even Port Pirie and that can add between two to three hours onto a trip.”
Mr Strong said council would be looking “wherever possible” to use local contractors to undertake the upgrades.
“In the current climate, any grant which promises to get a cash injection into local business is very welcome,” he said.
“Council has a strong policy to use local contractors when possible, and in fact all the quotes we used in our funding submission came from local businesses.”
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Funding lands at regional airstrips
Jamestown Flying Group also welcomed its funding news for the Sir Hubert Wilkins Aerodrome, and president Peter Thomas said the work would include sealing the end of the airstrip “across to the CFS area to make it safer” to access.
The group will also match the funding through a combination of cash and ‘work in kind’.
“We absolutely welcome any funding for improvements of the airstrip,” Mr Thomas said.
In all, nine South Australian airports received funding, others including:
Quorn – $56, 750 (fencing, illuminated sock for 24-hour access)
Whyalla – $2.5m (runway extension/sealing)
Minlaton – $825,000 (runway sealing)
Cowell – $291, 739 (sealing)
Loxton/Waikerie – $132, 266 (all-weather access works)
Copper Coast – $104,000 (infrastructure works including resealing)
Mt Gambier – $56, 750 (fencing).
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Regional Airports Program would assist the owners of regional airports to undertake essential works, promoting aviation safety and access for regional Australians.
“For our regional communities, the local airport is an essential link to the rest of Australia,” Mr McCormack said.
“The Government is investing in regional airports because we know this infrastructure is key to securing our regional aviation network now and into the post-COVID future.
“We are investing $100 million over four years from 2019-20 to 2022-23 to help owners of regional airports right across Australia deliver safer runways, taxiways and other safety upgrades such as new fencing and safety equipment.”