• Australia's regional airports have been in need of a cash injection for several years. (Steve Hitchen)
    Australia's regional airports have been in need of a cash injection for several years. (Steve Hitchen)

The Federal Government today launched the long-awaited Regional Airports grant program, which is due to open on 24 October this year.

The program, flagged in the lead-up to the Federal Election earlier this year, will deliver $100 million in upgrades for regional airports over the next four years.

“For many regional communities, the local airport provides an essential link to the rest of Australia,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack.

“That’s why we’ve committed $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 or safety equipment.

Round 1 will offer $45 million over two years with funding making up no more than 50% of the cost of any project, with a maximum amount of $5 million per grant set.

Both private organisations and government entities are eligible to apply for funding, provided the project is for an airport in an area classified as Inner Regional or Outer Regional by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and processes less than 250,000 passenger annually.

Projects eligible for funding include:

  • sealing, re-sealing or re-sheeting pavements
  • extending or strengthening a runway, taxiways and parking bays
  • repair, restoration or reconstruction of the runway, taxiways and aprons
  • airside drainage works
  • installation or restoration of animal fencing
  • provision of navaids and safety equipment
  • works to reduce safety hazards
  • installation of runway and taxiway lighting

CEO of the Australian Airports Association Caroline Wilkie welcomed the announcement.

“With so many regional airports struggling to make ends meet, access to funding for essential maintenance and upgrades will be a game changer for the regions,” she said.

“Our regional airports are the lifeblood of their communities and this funding will help them meet the needs of local people and businesses for years to come.

“This is an important step towards ensuring a strong, safe and vibrant regional airport network for the benefit of all Australians.”

Applications for funding under Round 1 will remain open until 12 December 2019. More information and grant guidelines are on the Federal Government's Business website.

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