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Owners and operators of aerodromes and airstrips in far east Gippsland can now apply for government funding up to $500,000 to undertake important upgrades to maintain safety and accessibility.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester is encouraging eligible owners and operators to apply for much-needed grants from the Remote Airstrip Upgrade Program.

“Our small airstrips across East Gippsland are valuable assets for our communities, particularly those in isolated areas,” Mr Chester said.

“The response, relief and recovery work undertaken during summer bushfires showed us all how important this infrastructure is in an emergency and why it is important we continue to invest in these assets.

“This is a welcome opportunity to secure government money for areas of Gippsland that have endured drought, bushfires and the coronavirus.”

Owners or operators of existing aerodromes in remote or very remote areas of Australia can apply for grants of between $5,000 and $500,000 for projects such as upgrading runway surfaces, improving lighting and installing animal proof fencing. A total of $7 million is available.

Areas east of Manorina and Bellbird Creek and north to the New South Wales border, including Bete Bolong North, Gelantipy, Wulgulmerang, Bendoc, Bonang, Cann River, Genoa and Mallacoota, are considered remote areas.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said remote aerodromes were critical to aero-medical flights, the delivery of essential goods and services and connecting people to employment and education opportunities.

“The latest funding is part of our commitment to investing in the future of regional communities, with this program delivering $62 million for almost 300 projects since 2013,” Mr McCormack said.

Small local government projects of $150,000 or less can seek funding for 100 per cent of eligible project costs, helping to deliver critical airstrip upgrades at a time it’s needed most.

Applications close on November 12, 2020. For details, visit business.gov.au/RAUP.

In June, Benambra Airstrip, Orbost Airport and Yarram Aerodrome received a combined total of almost $267,000 under the Federal Government’s Regional Airports Program.

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