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Government launches next round of Remote Airstrip Upgrade program

written by australianaviation.com.au | September 27, 2019

A file image of an RFDS aircraft taking off from an unpaved runway. (RFDS)
A file image of an RFDS aircraft taking off from an unpaved runway. (RFDS)

Owners and operators of remote airports will be able to apply for the next round the federal government’s Remote Airstrip Upgrade (RAU) program from the start of October.

On Friday, the federal government published the guidelines for the upcoming round of funding, which will be open for applications between October 1 and November 12.

There will be $10.1 million available for works such as upgrading runway surfaces or drainage, purchasing safety equipment such as runway lighting and navigation aids, or building infrastructure such as animal proof fencing.

The RAU program did not cover landslide development such as terminals, hangars, buildings or commercial developments, the Department of infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities website said.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the program would help improve essential air links to many remote locations around the country.


“For many communities, air services are essential for providing mail, supplies, transport and medical services,” McCormack said in a statement on Friday.

“Improving the safety and capacity of airstrips will provide major benefits to the thousands of Australians who would otherwise have to rely on much slower and less reliable road links.”

There were 31 projects approved in the previous round at a cost of $10.1 million, it was announced in March. These ranged from $1.8 million to improve the main runway at Flinders Island aerodrome in Tasmania, to $10,000 for pilot activated lighting and power upgrades at Jundah and Stonehenge aerodromes in Queensland.

The federal government extended the RAU program for a further three rounds in the 2018/19 federal budget that was handed down in May 2018.

Some $28.3 million was allocated for over the four financial years from 2018/19, comprising $4.3 million in 2018/19, $9 million in 2019/20, $9.1 million in 2020/21 and $5.9 million in 2021/22, the budget papers said.

The RAU program was part of the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development and Cities’ Regional Aviation Access program (RAAP).

The RAAP offered funding for upgrades to remote aerodromes via the RAU program, inspection and related services at aerodromes in remote indigenous communities via the Remote Aerodrome Inspections program (RAI), and subsidised flights to remote communities through the Remote Air Services Subsidy Scheme (RASS).

The 2019/20 federal budget showed the RAAP would receive $75.1 million in funding over the next four financial years, with $21.1 million in 2019/20, $21.4 million in 2020/21, $18.7 million in 2021/22 and $13.9 million in 2022/23.

More details about how to apply for RAU program can be found on the Australian government’s business website.

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