Major boost for regional residents with more affordable airfares
- 2023-24 State Budget delivers significant boost for Regional Airfare Zone Cap Scheme
- Further $20.7 million will be invested to meet demand for the popular scheme
- A total of $25.9 million for aviation initiatives for regional communities
The 2023-24 State Budget will deliver an additional $20.7 million towards the successful Regional Airfare Zone Cap Scheme as part of the McGowan Government's ongoing efforts to provide cost-of-living support to Western Australians.
The additional investment means more than $40 million has now been invested by the McGowan Government to support cheaper flights for regional Western Australians, delivering on a 2021 election commitment.
The Regional Airfare Zone Cap Scheme gives people living in regional Western Australia access to capped airfares for travel to and from Perth. The additional $20.7 million in funding will help meet the high demand for the capped fares, which is expected to continue to grow.
The initiative has been enormously popular with more than 66,200 flights undertaken using the capped fares in the first six months of the scheme.
The additional investment in the scheme will form part of an overall funding allocation of $25.9 million in the 2023-24 State Budget for aviation projects and initiatives for regional communities.
An allocation of $1.35 million over three years will ensure the continuation of the State Government-subsidised flights between Broome and Derby, which provided a critical transport link for the local community in the wake of the Kimberley floods.
Aviation access in the Kimberley will be further supported with $800,000 allocated over four years to continue a third weekly return service on the Kununurra-Halls Creek-Balgo route operated by Aviair, which has been successfully trialled since February 2021.
A further $2.3 million has been allocated to seal the Warmun Community airstrip in the East Kimberley, allowing it to receive flights - including emergency medical evacuations - in wet weather conditions.
Thirty-four airstrips in remote Aboriginal communities will also be the subject of a study supported by $750,000 in funding as part of the State Government's adaptation planning, to ensure they are fit for purpose in an environment of increased rainfall and flooding due to climate change.
Comments attributed to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:
"The 2023-24 State Budget continues the Government's unprecedented investment in air services and infrastructure in regional Western Australia.
"It includes a continued commitment to the successful Regional Airfare Zone Cap Scheme, which has been enormously popular with more than 66,200 flights undertaken using the capped fares in the first six months of the scheme.
"The funding to continue subsidised flights in the Kimberley region will also provide people in Derby, Halls Creek and Balgo with aviation services that enable vital health as well as freight services to be delivered.
"The important role of our Government's support for regional airlines was highlighted in the wake of the Kimberley floods when our subsidised services on the Broome to Derby route provided a critical transport link to the region while roads were closed.
"The budget also includes funding to carry out a study and investment plan for 34 airstrips in remote Aboriginal communities.
"As we've seen with recent severe weather, aviation plays a critical role in accessing communities, and we want to make sure the airstrips in remote Aboriginal communities are able to withstand the impacts of future severe weather events."
Comments attributed to Regional Development Minister Don Punch:
"Aviation services are so important in connecting regional communities, and the McGowan Government is investing in better access to the regions through the 2023-24 State Budget.
"By supporting regional airlines and investing in infrastructure to support air travel, we are providing better travel access to remote communities, and providing those same communities with better access to essential services.
"I'm proud to be part of a Government that is passionate about supporting our regions."
Comments attributed to Climate Action Minister Reece Whitby:
"Climate adaptation funding is crucial to building climate resilient communities in our regions.
"This investment plan will allow our Government to assess the specific needs of regional airstrips to improve their effectiveness.
"This planning will be essential for remote Aboriginal communities during the wet season as we adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change."
Transport Minister's office - 6552 5500
Regional Development Minister's office - 6552 6900
Climate Action Minister's office - 6552 6300