Ahead of the 2024 Federal Budget Regional Capitals Australia is making a call for Australia’s regional airports to be front and centre of the Federal Budget.
Cr Kylie King, Chair of Regional Capitals Australia (RCA) said while regional airports were critical to the nation’s economy and security, it is estimated that 60 per cent of regional airports currently operate at a loss due to ageing infrastructure, rising security and regulatory burdens and staffing costs.
“Unfortunately, regional councils are feeling the pinch due to increasing costs of delivery across the board, and they can no longer afford to pick up the shortfall,” Cr King said.
“Australia’s regional airports provide a critical role in border protection, medivac, defence and disaster response, and it’s only reasonable that the Federal Government contribute to their ongoing operations,” Cr King explained.
Regional airports are also key gateways for the movement of our nation’s FIFO workforce, air freight, business travel and the growth of new jobs and aviation industries.
For example, the City of Geraldton relies heavily on the local airport for the transport of mining workers, tourists, Royal Flying Doctor Service, RAAF deployments and connections to regional Western Australia.  Unfortunately the lack of funding for capital upgrades is impacting the potential for tourism growth, airfreight expansion and aviation services for the region.
An estimated 200 regional airports are owned and operated by local councils across Australia but rising costs means that many airports are operating at a loss and a burden on regional ratepayers.
“We are concerned that unless the Federal Government steps in, Australia’s regional airports will be deemed unviable, putting the handbrake on regional growth and our nation’s health and security at risk,” Cr King concluded.  

Image L-R: Cr Russell Webb Mayor of Tamworth Regional Council, Cr Daniel Scott Mayor of City of Karratha, Cr Kirsty Dellar Deputy Mayor of City of Kalgoorlie Boulder, Cr Kylie King Mayor of Albury City Council, Hon Catherine King MP Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Cr Mathew Dickerson Mayor of Dubbo Regional Council, Cr Phill Cronin Mayor of the City of Busselton, Cr Dallas Tout Mayor of Wagga Wagga City Council