Stawell Airport is set to get a $600,000 safety upgrade - including kangaroo and wildlife-proofing measures - as part of new Wimmera airport funding.
Northern Grampians Shire Council Mayor, Murray Emerson, said the improvements would help keep animals out of the Stawell Airport area.
"The main ongoing safety concern at the airport has been the presence of kangaroos and other wildlife on and around the airport. There have been many near-misses over the years," he said.
The funding - $300,000 each from the Federal Government's Regional Airports Program Round One and Northern Grampians Shire Council - will be used to improve improve overall safety and efficiency at the airport, which is a major aviation hub and emergency response base.
"With this funding and the additional fencing, we'll be able to effectively keep the animals away from the planes which will be safer for the airport users and help to protect our local wildlife as well," Cr Emerson said.
Projects will include:
- installing 3580 metres of vermin-proof fencing, preventing wildlife from entering the airport by securing the entire perimeter.
- Upgrading and realigning of the Taxiway Bravo to Code B requirements for safe passage of aircraft to the main runway and improving access to Runways 11/29 and 18/36, the apron, hangars and refuelling area.
- Extending of the apron parking area to improve efficiency and safe aircraft movement to the hangars and refuelling area by increasing the apron area by 1,500 square metres and installing cable type and normal tie-downs to provide additional apron parking.
- Renewing line marking of the runways, taxiways and apron areas; additional aircraft tie-down points and general safety upgrades to ensure compliance with the new Manual of Standards (MOS) regulations.
"The overall safety improvements this project and funding will allow for are the result of many hours of work with the Stawell Airport Management Committee and reflects a genuine need from the airport users," Cr Emerson said.
"Our entire region will be better served with a better regional airport."
Northern Grampians Shire Council CEO, Liana Thompson said the improvements would help with access in emergencies.
"These improvements to our airport will mean better access to our region from the air, increased safety of our residents during events such as bushfire, and increased safety at the airport itself," she said.
The upgrades are scheduled to start next month and be finished by June 2022.
EARLIER: Horsham Airport's lighting is set to be upgraded as part of $41.2 million in funding under the Federal Government Regional Airports Program.
Three airports in the Mallee will receive a share of the funding, which will improve safety to airport users, especially aeromedical crews.
Federal Member for Mallee, Anne Webster said the projects all have aeromedical access and safety at their core.
"In Horsham, lighting upgrades will allow for 24/7 access, in Maryborough fencing upgrades will protect aeromedical crew and equipment from wildlife strike," Dr Webster said.
"Swan Hill Regional Aerodrome was successful in receiving $1.2 million to perform upgrades allowing larger aircraft, including those used by emergency services access."
"I have been speaking with the Deputy Prime Minister regularly, advocating for this funding for our community and I am pleased the government has delivered it."
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Regional Airports Program would assist the owners of regional airports to undertake essential works, promoting aviation safety and access for regional Australians.
"For our regional communities, the local airport is an essential link to the rest of Australia," Mr McCormack said.
"The Government is investing in regional airports because we know this infrastructure is key to securing our regional aviation network now and into the post-COVID future.
"We are investing $100 million over four years from 2019-20 to 2022-23 to help owners of regional airports right across Australia deliver safer runways, taxiways and other safety upgrades such as new fencing and safety equipment."
This funding is in addition to the Federal Government's total package of support for Australia's aviation industry of more than $1.2 billion.