Round 2 of the Federal Government’s Regional Airports Program will open on 3 November 2020, to boost accessibility and safety of regional airports and aerodromes across Australia.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, said the latest funding would continue to assist regional airports to complete essential upgrades.

“Regional airports provide a vital link for regional communities, facilitating the delivery of essential goods and services such as food supplies, health care and passenger air services,” Mr McCormack said.

“Our commitment of $100 million over four years from 2019-2020 to 2022-23 will ensure the owners and operators of regional airports can deliver improved safety and capability, including upgraded runways, taxiways, as well as new fencing, navigational aids and lighting.”

Mr McCormack said airport safety and access works were already under way through Round 1 of the program, with $41.2 million approved in June 2020 towards 61 projects at regional airports.

“We have worked with industry to change the guidelines so that small local government and Indigenous corporations with projects of $300,000 or less can now seek funding for 100 per cent of eligible project costs, helping to deliver essential works at a time it is needed most while supporting local employment opportunities,” Mr McCormack said.

The Australian Airports Association (AAA) welcomed the second round of the program. 

AAA Chief Executive, James Goodwin, said funding for regional airport infrastructure had never been so important.

“COVID-19 has knocked regional airports for six pushing passenger numbers down by more than 70 per cent resulting in $7 million of lost revenue every month,” Mr Goodwin said.

“To make it even more challenging, council-owned airports don’t have access to JobKeeper but they continue to stay open as a critical service for the regional communities which rely on them.

“This program will help regional airports deliver projects which create long-term benefits, so communities can continue to connect to work, essential services, family and friends no matter where they live. 

“Regional Airports will be able to take advantage of fewer aircraft landing to start work on critical projects such as runway upgrades, taxiway improvements, new fencing and lighting to make air travel safer and more reliable.

“The Regional Airports Program was established following a campaign by the AAA to help our policy makers recognise the unique challenges our regional airports face and the need for infrastructure upgrades.” 

Applications for Round 2 will remain open until 15 December 2020, providing communities the time needed to develop strong proposals.

The guidelines are available at https://business.gov.au/rap.

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