Shepparton Airport will be able to accommodate a greater number and a more modern range of medical and emergency aircraft thanks to Federal Government funding of $452,000 via the first round of its Regional Airports Program.

Federal Member for Nicholls, Damian Drum, said the funding would allow vital upgrades such as the restoration of the airport’s northern taxiway and the construction of a new larger taxiway to accommodate modern aeromedical and emergency services operations.

“Medical services such as the Royal Flying Doctor Service and Air Ambulance are incredibly important to our regional communities and I’m thrilled that I’ve been able to successfully advocate for this funding,” Mr Drum said.

“Across Australia, more than 6000 emergency evacuations are facilitated by regional airports a year – both from more remote areas to regional base hospitals and from regional centres to capital cities for specialised treatment.

“The Federal 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.”

Air Ambulance Victoria, the Royal Flying Doctor Service and Kestral Aviation all provided letters of support as part of Greater Shepparton City Council’s funding application.

As owner and operator of the airport, GSCC will oversee the upgrades, which are expected to be completed within the next 12 months.

GSCC Mayor Seema Abdullah (pictured above alongside Mr Drum and airport reporting officer Des Good) thanked the Federal Government for the funding, which would ultimately enchance the safety of aircraft, operators and passengers.

“The Shepparton Airport plays a critical role in the emergency services in Northern Victoria, acting as a vital link for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and Ambulance Victoria and as a hub for the CFA firefighting aircraft during the fire season,” Cr Abdullah said.

“Council looks forward to getting started on these works and having them completed by the end of the 2020/2021 financial year.”

Also in Nicholls, the Yarrawonga Airport received $137,500 funding for the upgrade of its landing lights to ensure they are compliant with current Civil Aviation Safety Authority requirements.

Moira Shire Mayor Libro Mustica said the upgrade works were expected to be completed in the 2020/21 financial year.

“This funding will go a long way in improving the amenity and safety of the area, which will greatly benefit emergency services, aviation users and the broader community,” Cr Mustica said.

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.

“These important upgrades form part of the Federal Government’s commitment to regional Australia, with $100 million of Regional Airports Program funding to be rolled out over four years.

“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.”

The Regional Airports Program aims to ensure that key regional airport facilities meet the needs of communities and local industry, now and into the future.

More than $41 million of funding has been announced in round one of the program. This funding is in addition to the Federal Government’s total package of support for Australia’s aviation industry of more than $1.2 billion.

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