MP calls airport upgrade 'literally about life and death'
MEMBER for Burdekin Dale Last has thrown his support behind an application to upgrade the Collinsville Aerodrome, pressuring the federal liberal government that if the application is not accepted there would be "tough questions to answer".
At the November 13 ordinary meeting, Whitsunday Regional Council councillors voted to unanimously support the application of a $750,000 grant to upgrade the Collinsville Aerodrome as part of the Federal Governments Remote Airstrip Upgrade Program.
With a co-contribution of $750,000 from the council's Airport Reserve budget, the project would deliver the Collinsville Aerodrome with a lighting and certification upgrade, allowing the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) to land both operational planes at any time.
Currently, only the smaller plane in the RFDS fleet is able to land in Collinsville at night.
The proposed upgrades would allow the larger planes predominantly operated by the RFDS Townsville base the ability to also land at night.
Mr Last said he understood grant programs aren't open to political influence but if the application was refused, 'there would have to be a good reason' as he believed the grant would save lives.
"This project is literally about life and death and, if that's not enough to get it over the line, I'll be banging on doors to find out why," he said.
"I've already made it very clear to two Queensland senators that this project needs to happen, and it needs to happen sooner rather than later."
Mr Last said his support of the Collinsville Aerodrome was part of his fight for better health services in the region and called it a health priority, along with the CT scanner for Bowen Hospital.
"It's hard enough to get appropriate medical resources in regional Queensland without having to pray that if you need to be medically evacuated that it happens during the day,"
"My reason for supporting this is exactly the same as my reason for holding the Queensland government to account over the CT facilities at Bowen Hospital," Mr Last said.
"We deserve first-class medical services and we deserve to know that we can access them when we need them."