FUNDING for the damaged Mornington Island runway has at last been confirmed by the state government.
Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said the runway will receive an $8 million infrastructure upgrade.
The state government will provide $6.5 million towards the repairs which were needed after a storm damaged the runway last December.
The Department of Transport and Main Roads will manage the project to ensure the runway is completed before the wet season. In July the Mornington Island chief executive Frank Mills hoped it would be completed by late October.
Mornington Shire mayor Bradley Wilson said the council will contribute the other $1.5 million.
“The airport is the lifeblood of our community and the damaged runway has had a huge impact on our community finances and mobility,” he said.
“We are very appreciative of all the work that has gone into securing this funding and our community is looking forward to seeing work get underway.”
The funding announcement was timed with assistant minister for government Jennifer Howard visiting the island on Wednesday. Department of Environmental Health and Protection director-general Jim Reeves was also part of the visit.
Ms Howard said the runway was the only emergency evacuation strip on the island.
Upgrades would allow the Royal Flying Doctor Service to continue transporting patients to mainland clinics and hospitals and allow food and medical deliveries, she said.
State Member Rob Katter congratulated Councillor Wilson and the council for their perseverance in securing the funding.
“We’re very grateful to the deputy premier for delivering the funding to ensure upgrades are made to this vital piece of infrastructure in the gulf,” he said.
“It has been a difficult period for the shire as we know that planes are the only way on and off the island. We’re very grateful to the Deputy Premier for delivering the funding to ensure upgrades are made.”