Take-off for airport upgrades

The airports will benefit from part of $4 million in Royalties for Regions grants allocated to upgrade regional aviation facilities around WA.

Merredin, Northam and Goomalling were among 28 airports in WA announced as successful recipients of the latest round of Regional Airports Development Scheme (RADS) grants.

Northam will receive $64,875 to resurface its apron (where planes are parked, unloaded and refuelled), Merredin will receive a $151,000 grant, and the Shire of Goomalling will receive a $25,000 grant to develop a master plan to review its existing airstrip.

Central Wheatbelt MLA Mia Davies said the grants would boost airport quality and safety.

‘Works at Merredin will include installation of a vermin-proof fence, and replacement and relocation of windsock towers,’ Ms Davies said.

‘This will vastly improve take-off and landing safety at the airport, which for 15 years has been home to China Southern West Australian Flying College, but also services regular passenger, medical and agricultural aviation requirements.’

Ms Davies, a member of the Wheatbelt Aviation Strategy Ministerial Taskforce, said the region was ideally positioned to foster growth in the aviation industry.

‘Aviation in the Wheatbelt is a growth area,’ she said. ‘We have perfect training conditions for flying schools, so a continued effort to maintain and improve the network of airstrips in the region is crucial to develop more aviation-related businesses, as we’ve seen in Merredin.’

Ms Davies said quality aviation facilities were also important to give the Royal Flying Doctor Service safe and reliable access to regional areas.