Ensuring essential air access in Far North Queensland
Essential air service access to Coen in the middle of the Cape York Peninsula in Far North Queensland is being ensured with funding from the Australian Government for a vital upgrade of the Coen Aerodrome runway.
Catherine King, Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and Transport, and Jenny Macklin, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, said the Government was providing a total of $800,000 to the $1.5 million runway strengthening works.
“The Coen Aerodrome is vital infrastructure for local communities in the Cape York region,” Ms King said.
“We are providing $500,000 for the Coen Aerodrome under our Remote Aerodrome Safety Program, which is around 150 safety projects around Australia.
“The upgrade will ensure the runway can cope with regular air services that provide access to essential goods and services including the delivery of food, mail, medicine, and passenger transport.
“This is especially critical during the wet season when Coen’s road access can be completely cut-off for up to five months,” she said.
Ms Macklin said a further $300,000 would be delivered as part of COAG’s National Partnership Agreement on Remote Service Delivery.
“Not only people and goods are delivered through air services to the region but importantly medical care is delivered to the 400-strong local community by the Royal Flying Doctor Service,” Ms Macklin said.
“Currently the RFDS provides 17 Primary Health Care Clinics each month to the Coen community as well as emergency patient retrievals.
“Coen is one of 29 priority Remote Service Delivery indigenous communities identified under COAG’s National Partnership on Remote Service Delivery.
“In Coen this National Partnership is delivering schooling and childhood services, health, jobs and safety initiatives, as well as vital local facilities,” Ms Macklin said.
Ms King and Ms Macklin said the remaining funding for the runway upgrade was being provided by the Queensland Government and the Cook Shire Council.
State Member for Cook, Jason O’Brien, said the Queensland Government was contributing $400,000 towards the reconstruction of the runway under the Department of Transport’s Regional Airport Development Scheme.
“This upgrade is vital. In the wet season road access can be cut-off for up to five months and it is critical that the runway is safe enabling aircraft to land all year round,” Mr O’Brien said.
“I’m delighted that all three levels of government have recognised the importance of air services for this community and that we’re working together to deliver this upgrade.”