Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce has welcomed a $4.28 million boost to regional airports in the electorate but has questioned why the Federal Labor Government has taken so long to release the funding.
Mr Joyce said the former Coalition Government had established the $100 million Regional Airports Program to invest in safety, infrastructure and other upgrades, awarding more than $70 million across two rounds.
He said, “The program allows regional airport owners to improve people’s access to education, international trade opportunities, career prospects and to health through improved air ambulance services.
“However, the airport owners have had to endure months of unnecessary delays, waiting to repair and resurface runways and undertake associated safety and other upgrades, while the Labor Government delayed decisions on the funding allocations.
“There is no reason why it should have taken so long. This was a program handed to the incoming Labor Government on a platter with money already in the Budget and a tried and tested means of assessing projects,” Mr Joyce said.
In the New England electorate:
- Glen Innes Airport will receive over $1.1 million for a renewal of the main runway, a lighting upgrade with a Pilot Activated Airport Lighting System and an illuminated wind direction indicator
- Armidale Regional Airport receives over $440,000 for runway resealing and line marking, and the replacement of a secondary wind direction indicator
- Inverell Airport has been allocated over $270,000 to upgrade and extend the aircraft parking apron, and
- Scone Regional Airport receives almost $2.5 million for a runway upgrade and resurfacing.
“The delay in allocating this funding, on top of stripping $69 million from the road black spot program is worrying and raises serious questions about Labor’s priorities for rural and regional Australia,” Mr Joyce said.