Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Regional Capitals call for funding to address ageing airport infrastructure

Regional Capitals Australia (RCA) is calling for funding for NSW regional airports to be front and centre of May’s Federal Budget.

AlburyCity Mayor, Kylie King, who is Chair of Regional Capitals Australia (RCA), said that while regional airports were critical to the nation’s economy and security, an estimated 60% were currently operating at a loss due to ageing infrastructure, rising security and
regulatory burdens and staffing costs.

“Unfortunately, regional councils are feeling the pinch due to increasing costs of delivery
across the board, and they can no longer afford to pick up the shortfall,” said Chair King.

“The NSW regional airports of Albury, Armidale, Broken Hill, Wagga Wagga, Griffith, Tamworth and Dubbo provide a critical role in border protection, medivac, defence and disaster response, and it’s only reasonable that the Federal Government contribute to their ongoing operations.”

She said regional airports were also key gateways for the movement of NSW’s FIFO workforce, air freight, business travel and the growth of new jobs and aviation industries.

“For example, the City of Albury and surrounding regions rely heavily on the local airport as
the nominated aerial firefighting and search and rescue base for both Victoria and NSW.”

“Unfortunately the lack of funding for capital upgrades to accommodate larger aircraft is impacting the potential for expansion of aviation services for the region,” said Chair King.

An estimated 200 regional airports are owned and operated by local councils across Australia but rising costs means that many airports are operating at a loss and a burden on regional ratepayers, she said.

“We are concerned that unless the Federal Government steps in, NSW’s regional airports will be deemed unviable, putting the handbrake on regional growth and our nation’s health and security at risk.”

RCA is an alliance of local governments across the nation, representing those areas that
play a ‘capital city’ role within their region.

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