GREATER Bendigo is one of 51 regional capital cities collectively calling on the federal government to urgently release $100 million allocated to regional airports.
The appeal from Regional Capitals Australia comes in the wake of a report into air route service delivery to rural, regional and remote communities, which was released earlier this month.
The Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee made nine recommendations in its report, including a federal government review into the funding or regional and remote aerodrome infrastructure and maintenance.
The report said many of Australia's regional airports were operating at a loss and depended on cross-subsidisation by their local government owners who, in turn, faced multiple and competing demands on their limited financial resources.
"The costs of maintaining and expanding regional airport infrastructure can be up to three times higher in some remote locations compared to airports in major population centres," the report said.
RCA chair Cr Samantha McIntosh said keeping regions connected required significant investment from all levels of government.
She said RCA would advocate for the report's recommendations to be implemented.
"Releasing the $100 million Regional Airports Program funding announced as part of the 2019-2020 budget is something the government can do today to meet the challenges raised in the report," Cr McIntosh said.
Funding for the program will be available from July 1.
It is understood the City of Greater Bendigo will look at making an application to the fund for planned upgrades to the Bendigo Airport.
However, the city does not expect the entire project will fit within the program's guidelines.
The city is seeking almost $4.4-million from the federal government for a new terminal building, which is expected to cost just under $10-million.
The project will include essential security requirements including baggage screening, as well as additional car parking and an arrivals hall.
About $4.5-million is being sought from the state government, and council intends to provide $1-million.
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