Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Major Horn Island airport upgrade opened

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Simon Crean MP, Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government
    The Hon Catherine King MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and Transport

Passengers flying to and from Horn Island in Queensland will benefit from more seats and more regular services following the completion of a $9 million airport upgrade.

The expansion of the airport’s infrastructure was a jointly funded project. The Australian Government provided $5.09 million and the balance was funded by the Queensland Government and the Torres Strait Shire.

Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin said the project was funded across three Australian Government departments, demonstrating a whole-of-government approach to this vital infrastructure project.

“As part of the upgrade, the main airport runway has been extended by 74 metres to cater for larger aircraft such as QantasLink’s Q400s. Previously only smaller Q300 planes were able to land on the Island,” Ms Macklin said.

“This busy airport already caters for about 70,000 passengers each year and the upgraded runway will mean more seats at peak times on the regular Cairns to Horn Island route. This will significantly improve access for Torres Strait communities to Cairns-based services, such as medical services and facilities.”

“It will also make it easier for the local community to bring equipment and goods to the Torres Strait and create better opportunities for the development of local economic initiatives such as tourism.”

Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government, Simon Crean said the aerodrome upgrade was of strategic importance to the people of the Torres Strait.

“This project is an excellent example of all levels of government working together to ensure that Australians living in the most remote parts of our country have access to essential transport links,” Mr Crean said.

“Importantly this project provided jobs for 35 people and a boost to the local economy.”

Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and Transport, Catherine King said the project was part of a broader investment in upgrades to remote aerodromes, through the Australian Government’s Regional Aviation Access Program.

“Through this program, the Australian Government has committed over $20 million to improve the safety and capacity of around 150 remote aerodromes across the country,” Ms King said.

“And further upgrades are still to come, with an additional $26 million over two years announced in the 2011-12 Budget to further improve access to vital air services for remote communities across Australia.”

The Australian Government’s funding contribution included $4.65 million from the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, $340,000 from the Department of Infrastructure and Transport and $100,000 from the Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government.