Member for Mallee Anne Webster has been fighting for funding support for regional airports, and particularly the Mildura Airport, given the vital transport link it provides for the Sunraysia community.
“Covid-19 has had a huge impact on all industries and businesses across Mallee, with the aviation industry particularly hard hit.
“The Government continues to provide significant support to our aviation industry through this crisis and I am fighting hard to ensure we receive that support locally.
“There has been over $1 billion of support to regional airlines across Australia, including Qantas, Rex and Virgin. This funding has allowed both Qantas and Rex to resume flights in and out of Mildura,” Dr Webster said.
“This support has reconnected our specialist healthcare with our local community. It has meant that patients in need of care can get to Melbourne, and that medical professionals can travel to our region.
“Mildura Airport provides the essential connection for these medical professionals and patients, as well as freight supply and essential business travel – so we need to help them get through the pandemic.
The Government has long provided significant support to regional airports, including $100 million over four years to 2022-23 to provide assistance to the owners of regional airports to undertake essential works, promoting aviation safety and access for communities. 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.
“The significant drop in flights as a result of the pandemic has resulted in a drop in the airports revenue and viability.
“I have been in constant discussion with the Mildura Airport, understanding the impact that the Coronavirus has had on them, and I’m speaking with the Deputy Prime Minister every day, advocating for the Mildura Airport and the support it needs.”
Peter O’Donnell, Chairman of the Mildura Airport stated that the fall in revenue had proven a significant impact on operations
“This is a difficult period for our entire aviation sector, including for the Mildura airport. Our board and management team are determined we get the support we need.” Mr O’Donnell said.
“The Mildura Airport has made it clear to Dr Webster the need for support, and the difficulty we are having without it. The ownership structure of Mildura Airport means that we are ineligible for the JobKeeper subsidy and other government economic backing. We enormously appreciate Dr Webster’s commitment to Mildura and advocacy on this issue, but we are now desperate that funding for the Aviation Sector extends directly to Regional Airports. ”
“I will continue to fight to ensure this vital link is supported and able to get through the pandemic, so it is in a strong position to help us recover quickly on the other side.” Dr Webster said.