15 May 2024

$4.8m upgrades announced for ‘crucial’ Aurukun, Lockhart River, Kowanyama airports

| Lyndon Keane
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Aurukun’s airport is one of three on Cape York receiving more than $4.8 million for infrastructure upgrades through the Federal Government’s Remote Airstrip Upgrade Program. Photo Supplied.

Three Cape York airstrips will share more than $4.8 million for upgrades to improve safety and accessibility for users.

The Federal Government announced on 9 May the Kowanyama Airport, Aurukun Aerodrome and Lockhart River Aerodrome were among 21 facilities across the country receiving funding as part of its Remote Airstrip Upgrade Program (RAUP).

Lockhart River will receive $2,956,799 to upgrade aeronautical ground lighting, while Kowanyama’s runway and taxiway will get a $1,443,440 reseal and restoration.

Aurukun Shire Council will use its $436,600 funding allocation to purchase and install an Aerodrome Weather Information Service (AWIS) system, which provides pilots with current weather information used for flight planning and on approach to the airstrip.

Aurukun Mayor Barbara Bandicootcha said the upgrades would improve the capacity of the community’s airport.

READ ALSO Pormpuraaw airport set for $14 million overhaul

“Aurukun Aerodrome is the primary airstrip for the region, and serves as a crucial lifeline during disasters like bushfires and floods,” she said.

“The project will provide real-time weather information to the pilots to help them optimise flight planning and reduce safety hazards.

“It will not only improve the aerodrome’s regulatory compliance, but will contribute to increased safety levels for both operations and passengers.

“The upgrades will provide the potential to open the aerodrome to a more competitive market by allowing a greater variety of aircraft to land.”

Assistant Minister for Regional Development Senator Anthony Chisholm said the local upgrades would improve the liveability of the three communities.

“Safe and accessible airstrips are critical to safeguarding the quality of life in many remote and very remote communities across Australia, as they keep essential services running and allow businesses to grow and thrive,” he said.

“This improved resilience will also mean people who grow up in remote areas can continue to live, do business and retire there, knowing they will have access to the emergency and other services needed in any stage of life.”

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