State KAP Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter has welcomed the news that Karumba will be permanently included on the State Government’s regulated Gulf air service route.
In late September Mr Katter wrote to Department of Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey, backing the calls of the Karumba community and requesting he ensure the weekly return service, run by Regional Express (REX), permanently include the Karumba stopover.
This followed an initial three month trial of the service to Karumba from March 2017, followed by a subsequent year-long trial that finished up in September last year.
“This trial is due to conclude by the end of this month and, on behalf of the Karumba community, I urge you to extend this trial or, alternatively, make a determination that Karumba become a permanent inclusion on the Gulf route,” Mr Katter
wrote to the Minister at the time.
“The benefits of this service to Karumba cannot be overstated, and the feedback to me and my office about this weekly flight has been overwhelmingly positive.
“The inclusion of Karumba on this route has had far-reaching benefits.
“It has increased the isolated community’s access to essential services which are not available in their home town, opened up new and extended existing tourism opportunities and has fostered better business development in the area.
“The convenience and peace of mind these regular flights bring to Karumba residents also must be noted.”
Mr Bailey has since confirmed that, following an evaluation by the DTMR of the most recent 12 month trial period, Karumba will remain permanently on the route until the end of the current contract period.
Mr Katter thanked the Minister for recognising the importance of improving the accessibility of air services in remote North Queensland, and said he looked forward to continuing discussions with the State Government on other air routes that require attention.