Questions on regional airport security changes

Commitment to security

The Lower Eyre Peninsula District Council will seek funding to implement security screening measures at Port Lincoln Airport as Centre Alliance raise concerns on proposed security measures.

Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick raised concerns about the government’s proposed security upgrades for regional airports which would include installing body scanners and x-ray equipment.

The Department of Home Affairs has estimated the cost of equipment maintenance and staffing at between $530,000 and $760,000.

Mr Patrick said ongoing costs would lead to either increased council rates or increased ticket prices.

Lower Eyre Peninsula District Council chief executive officer Rod Pearson said the council would lodge an application for funding to buy the required equipment soon.

“It would be fair to say that council is concerned about the cost and logistics of providing security screening at the Port Lincoln Airport, however is committed to implementing screening prior to December 2020 in compliance with whatever legislation is imposed by the Commonwealth,” he said.

Candidate for Grey Andrea Broadfoot said the changes would affect airports like Port Lincoln and called for Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey to lobby on this issue.

“The electorate of Grey encompasses key regional centres like Whyalla and Port Lincoln that are reliant on affordable air services,” she said.

“Council is eligible for Commonwealth funding to purchase required screening equipment, and will be lodging an application for such equipment in March of this year.”

Mr Patrick also questioned a decision to mandate screening of regular public transport flights carrying 40 passengers or more, down from the current 20,000 kilogram take-off weight threshold, equalling about 50 seats.

However Regional Express chairperson Lim Kim Hai said there had been no public announcement of a revised threshold and it would not affect REX operations if it was introduced.