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Katter asks Defence Minister to come to the aid of Mornington Island's airstrip



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For more information or a comment from Bob Katter please contact Anne Pleash 0448 155 967

Katter asks Defence Minister to come to the aid of

Mornington Island’s Airstrip

22 December 2015: As a cyclone brews in the Gulf of Carpentaria, KAP Leader and Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter has written to the Defence Minister seeking immediate assistance to call in the Defence Force to repair the Mornington Island airstrip which is currently inoperable.

The remote isolated Indigenous community of Mornington Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria is currently without a sealed all weather air strip due to the pavement being water logged.

Underneath the bitumen airstrip has had further damage when an aircraft touched down and the wheels have scraped through the airstrip surface causing wheel ruts into the bitumen.

Mr Katter wrote to the Defence Minister after Mr Paul Woodhouse, Chair of the North West Hospital & Health Service Board (which covers the Mornington Island area) contacted his office to raise concerns that medical staff were unable to get on or off Mornington Island.

“There have been medical personnel trapped on the island, with little hope of getting off until well after Christmas,” Mr Katter said.

“There are no regular boat services. With a cyclone brewing few would be game to commit to the sea for a very long journey back to Burketown or Karumba.”

“For a remote island community such as Mornington Island, the airstrip is the lifeblood and as essential as water, food and shelter. Without an operating all-weather airstrip the community safety and health is severely compromised.”

“There are precedents for the Government sending in the Defence Force to assist in similar situations. During the 2010 Gulf of Carpentaria floods, Karumba water’s supply was cut off and a team of eight army engineers and a potable water system were brought in to service the community until the floods subsided and the repairs could be made,” Mr Katter said.

While some charter flights are using the Island’s Berri Beach airstrip it is not a sealed all-weather airstrip.

##ENDS##

Hon Bob Katter MP Federal Leader

It's the principle of it www.ausparty.org.au Member for Kennedy