Bendigo Airport (pictured) is among some 60 regional airports in Australia to benefit from £41.2 million in funding for upgrades under a new federal government initiative.

Upgrades range from taxiway and runway resurfacing projects to fencing upgrades, lighting works and drainage solutions. The grants are part of a larger $100 million package announced during last year’s budget, but which now take on increased importance as the global aviation industry recovers from the coronavirus pandemic. This funding is also in addition to the federal government’s more than $1.2 billion support package for Australia’s aviation industry during the current crisis.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, who is also the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, said the funding would assist regional airport owners to undertake essential works, promoting aviation safety and access for regional Australians.

“For our regional communities, the local airport is an essential link to the rest of Australia,” McCormack said in a statement.

“The government is investing in regional airports because we know this infrastructure is key to securing our regional aviation network now and into the post-COVID future.”

Bendigo Airport is tor receive $465,000 for RPT apron expansion and strengthening and run-up area development. Other airports to benefit include Ballarat, which is receiving a $5 million runway upgrade and Merimbula, which will see a $4.5 million runway upgrade.

Labor’s transport spokewoman Catherine King warned that while all funding is welcome regional airports in Australia have been hit hard by coronavirus and more funding will be required for the industry to recover from the COVID crisis. She pointed out that, “With many regional airports being council-owned, they have been ineligible fro JobKeeper support and have been forced to lay off highly skilled staff.”

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