Thirteen communities in the Northern Territory, including Mataranka, will benefit from better air services thanks to the Australian Government's latest round of the Remote Airstrip Upgrade Program.
Roper Gulf Regional Council will receive $199,800 for safety upgrades at Mataranka airstrip.
Deputy Prime Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said $8 million in funding is going to 46 projects across Australia, including over $2 million for projects in the Northern Territory, which will improve air access and enhance the safety of remote aerodromes.
"Many remote communities in the Northern Territory rely on airstrips for their delivery of food, medical supplies, mail and other essential goods and services," the Deputy Prime Minister said.
"These communities include Mataranka, Elcho Island, Wadeye, Milingimbi, Harts Range, Gapuwiyak, Belyuen and Engawala.
"It is imperative these airstrips are repaired, resealed and are up to standard so that users can land safely to provide the critical deliveries and air transport connections for rural communities.
"Operations that directly benefit from these upgrades include the Royal Flying Doctor Service and CareFlight."
Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister Kevin Hogan said the latest round of funding shows the Australian Government's ongoing commitment to improving infrastructure in regional, rural and remote communities.
"Projects funded in Round 8 include resealing airstrips so that aircraft can land without getting damaged, upgrading lighting to support emergency services landing at night or fence replacement to reduce wildlife on the runway," Mr Hogan said.
"This includes $500,000 as part of a $1.8 million project to be delivered in conjunction with the Northern Territory Government, to reseal and re-paint line markings on the runway, taxiway and apron at Elcho Island aerodrome."
Senator for the Northern Territory Dr Sam McMahon said this crucial funding will ensure the communities of Galiwin'ku and the surrounding homelands continue to have a safe connection to the mainland for essential goods and services.
"Other projects include $170,610 to Belyuen Community Government Council to seal the apron and taxiway to improve aeromedical access for communities on the Cox Peninsula," Senator McMahon said.
"These are all works that will dramatically improve the safety of and access to these airstrips, which is fantastic news for communities across the Territory, particularly in remote areas."
Northern Territory Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics Eva Lawler said upgrading and expanding the remote airstrips will create a flow on effect for the community - delivering crucial freight and supporting many industries.
"Creating reliable air and road networks is one way the Northern Territory is bouncing back from COVID-19. Improving remote communities' access to medical supplies, delivery of mail and food, and year-round transportation allows our large Territory land mass to stay connected and for Territorians and business to thrive," Minister Lawler said.
"Thirteen Territory communities will benefit from this joint funding. Sealing remote airstrips opens up to new industry and cements the Territory as Australia's comeback capital."
The funding brings the total Australian Government funding approved for remote airstrip upgrades nationwide to $70 million for 343 projects since 2013.