Docs reveal regional airport cuts

A STATE government grants programs which funds essential upgrades to smaller regional airports and airstrips could be cut from next year, budget documents reveal.

While the documents were released last week, cuts to the $2.9 million Regional Airport Development Scheme were largely overlooked.

Budget documents reveal the state government has ended the scheme entirely from the start of the 2012-13 financial year.

In its last round in 2011-12, the scheme funded various smaller projects included animal-proof fences around airstrips and upgrades and extensions to airstrips.

All of the grants went to infrastructure upgrades in regions including Banana, Barcaldine, Boulia, Southern Downs, Tablelands and Murweh.

But while that scheme has been cut from the budget, a line budget line called "rural and remote airstrips" had $2.9 million listed under spending.

A spokesman for Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said the new budget line would ensure the funding would still be delivered in 2012-13, albeit under a new name.

But he would not say whether the funds would continue to be available after this fiscal year, instead saying there were no projects listed for completion.

The vast majority of funds go to local governments, who have to put up half the cash for any project to be approved.

It is understood the Local Government Association of Queensland, which has written to the Minister about the confusion, was still waiting for a reply.

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