Mr RAMSEY (Grey—Government Whip) (10:25): I’m very pleased to discuss the fact that the Grey electorate received seven separate grants under the recent Regional Airports Program. Two of them, Orroroo and Quorn, are for fencing and lighting. The fencing is to keep vermin off the strips. Down at Jamestown, we have an installation going in for the waterbombers, and at Cowell and Minlaton there’ll be substantial upgrades with the sealing of their strips. These are hundreds-of-thousands-of-dollars jobs, so they’re gratefully received in the community there. The Copper Coast, which is Kadina, there’s over $100,000 for the resealing of the taxiways and approaches. Probably in Whyalla is where we’ve got the most important grant of all, almost $2½ million to assist the Whyalla council in the redevelopment of the airport there.
Whyalla has been an airport that I’ve had some concerns about ever since we first announced that we were going to bring in regional airport security scanning. It was highlighted that it was the worst affected airport in Australia, and it’s been quite a while making sure that the government is standing behind this council, this airport and this community to make sure that we’ve got a good package. Firstly, we managed to secure $850,000, like all the other airports installing the scanners, for the equipment and then a million dollars for alterations within the terminal. Then, just recently, we announced that we would actually fund the ongoing operating costs of the scanners, which I always thought was possibly the most important thing of all to do. We’re not dead sure how we’re doing that yet. We’ve got through the first 12 months, but we’re organising the mechanisms that will allow for that. And now we’ve come on board and supplied almost $2½ million to assist the council in the major redevelopment. In this particular case, the money’s going to the main runway extensions, new taxiway aprons and separate areas to facilitate GA traffic, the Royal Flying Doctor Service and of course the daily passenger services. So, all in all, it will be a mighty upgrade for the Whyalla Airport.
Regional aviation, like all aviation in Australia, is struggling at the moment, and the government has had substantial packages there, assisting where we can to keep these companies in business and operating. We need them now very soon to, as we’ve said, snap back and increase flight frequency. I was very, very pleased to hear that Qantas is increasing their frequency. It was only announced last week, I think. So, those things are coming together. Give us six or eight months and we’ll have a brand new airport for it all to happen in.