Cuts to Community Service and fears of rising rates as local Councils, struggling to keep regional airports operating at a loss are forgotten by the Federal Government’s new 1.2 Billion Dollar Tourism Package.
Almost 200 remote regional Airports have been forgotten by the Federal Government’s new 1.2 Billion Dollar tourism package, as council-owned airports revenues collapsing by as much as 90 per cent according to the latest release from the Australian Local Government Association.
ALGA President Cr Linda Scott highlighted the impacts of rising compliance costs. “Because of the rising costs of compliance, few regional airports came to this crisis in a strong financial position.”
“Local government has been given little direct financial support during Covid-19, apart from subsidies to help meet the costs of government-mandated security screening of passengers and freight,” Cr Scott said.
Cr Scott added that because local governments were not eligible for JobKeeper payments, councils have struggled to hold on to airport staff.
“There are almost 4000 jobs generated by regional and remote airport precincts across the country and given the uncertainties about when the pandemic will be brought under control, federal and state governments need to reconsider their level of direct support for local government.” Cr Scott said.
Local Governments are committed to keeping airports open, even when running at a loss to ensure the ability to deliver essential services and functions.
“We’re now at a point, however, where councils are looking to have to cut community services to sustain their airports,” Cr Scott said.
The ALGA was contacted about the potential for Rate Raises in addition to reductions in community services and advised: “that ALGA cannot provide a response on behalf of the councils that run airports”.
Some of the affected Regional Councils has been contacted about the prospect for potential rate raises and did not wish comment at this stage.
No ‘ticket to recovery’ for remote and regional airports