The Whitsunday Coast Airport.
The Whitsunday Coast Airport. Dane Lillingstone

Christensen lets fly over airport safety concerns

CLAIMS of reduced airport safety services in the Whitsundays is "totally false" according to Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen.  

Mr Christensen shot down the claims of Labor MP Anthony Albanese in Canberra today, that airport rescue and fire-fighting services on Hamilton Island would be cut and that Proserpine would be unable to establish a service.  

In his speech to the Federation Chamber today Mr Albanese stated the LNP Government would implement a tiered system that would mean airport receiving 350,000 and 500,000 passengers per year would not be provided with firefighting facilities.  

"However, it would lead to a two-tiered system. In the future, airports with passenger movements between 350,000 and 500,000 per year would not be provided with firefighting facilities," he said.   

"Both of these claims by Labor on cuts to airport fire and rescue services at Hamilton Island and Proserpine are false," Mr Christensen said.  

"They were false two years ago when they first raised them and they're false now.  

"When the United Firefighters Union of Australia Aviation Branch first brought this to my attention, I followed up with the Minister, to ensure that services in my electorate would not be cut."

  Mr Albanese said the Whitsunday Coast Airport near Proserpine was "on the cusp the cusp of meeting this criterion" as it received 350,00 passengers a year.   

"It should have an aviation firefighting service established because 353,000 passengers passed through that airport last year.

The Government must today state clearly that the Proserpine airport will be provided with rescue and firefighting services," Mr Albanese said.   

He called on the LNP to reject changes that would deprive the Whitsunday Coast Airport of aviation firefighting services.   

"Just make a decision and support this community," he said.   

Mr Christensen said the information was clear that existing services "would remain untouched".  

"Also untrue is the claim that Proserpine's Whitsunday Coast Airport will be unable to establish an Aviation Rescue and Fire-Fighting Service," he said.  

"The establishment of services at Proserpine is already underway, and I understand that the case will be presented to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority this week.  

"Therefore, the services at Proserpine will not be affected by changes.

The only thing I agree with Anthony Albanese on in relation to airport firefighters is that they do a great job.  

"And I look forward to welcoming new aviation firefighters when services come online at the Whitsunday Coast Airport."  

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