Improving Transport Infrastructure in Regional Australian Communities
Transport connections are an integral part of building regional and rural communities. It improves the flow of goods and services, increases opportunities for locals to travel and makes things like emergency services more readily available.
This has certainly been the case in regional parts of Queensland where airport upgrades have been made by natural gas companies. Take Chinchilla, in Queensland’s Western Downs Region, for example, which received a multi-million dollar airport upgrade in 2014 thanks to natural gas company QGC. At the time local council members predicted the upgrades would bring long-term economic benefits to the area and this certainly seems to be the case almost five years on. This is true of both the Gladstone and Roma airport upgrades paid for by the natural gas industry.
Upgrades have also made emergency healthcare services like the Royal Flying Doctor Service and RACQ’s LifeFlight helicopter more accessible to patients in remote and rural communities. Natural gas companies already sponsor the RFDS every year in various states, but its the improvements made to runways and airport infrastructure in those areas that have made a real difference. The industry’s commercial arrangements with LifeFlight ensure that workers in the natural gas industry are cared for if ever ill or injured, but the major benefit is felt by the local community who receive world-class care from professional paramedics and doctors in the LifeFlight helicopter. This is especially important for community members who sometimes live hours away from a hospital by car.
Income from natural gas doesn’t just benefit those directly employed by the industry but does a lot to support the local communities that host gas projects. Small businesses and local economies in host communities and around the country benefit from this income.