Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said he is very pleased the Government has committed to ensuring regional airports are not disadvantaged by the introduction of mandatory airport security measures due to be introduced by the end of the year.
“This proposal was first raised in the Government Joint Party Room eighteen months ago and I immediately expressed my concerns about the possible impact on regional airports and particularly Port Lincoln and Whyalla,” Mr Ramsey said.
“Without doubt Whyalla was to be the worst affected regional airport in Australia with an estimated impact of $52 per outbound passenger on aircraft with seating capacity greater than forty.
“Even though previously as a government we had committed to paying for the scanning equipment and funding any required structural alterations up to a value of $1m. In Whyalla’s case this amounts to $1.85m.
“With the advent of Covid -19 we announced $715m to support the airline industry with $46m of that amount earmarked to support regional airport security.
“I expect this amount to fully cover regional operational screening costs all around Australia for twelve months and beyond that point I had been assured that a way will be found.
“Today that way has been found with a Government commitment to find a permanent funding solution for the ongoing costs of operating regional airport scanning.”
Mr Ramsey said it was never an option not to install scanning equipment at regional airports, however, finding a way to install and operate the equipment was a challenge that had to be met.
“I am satisfied we now have the assurances we need and I will continue to work with the councils to ensure delivery of the solution,” he said.
“The Government’s decision today will be very welcome to regional airports and particularly to Whyalla and Port Lincoln. Now we can concentrate on what should be our number one priority, revitalising our economy as the threat from the coronavirus recedes and building our visitor up to and past the pre-Covid period.”