Image: L-R: Koroba-Kopiago DDA Chairman Johnson Tigi and RAA CEO John Bromley place official stamps on the MOA documents as Koroba-Kopiago MP and Minister for Immigration and Border Security, Petrus Thomas, witnesses.
The people of Koroba-Kopiago will soon enjoy the benefit of better air services, thanks to a Rural Airstrip MOA signed between their District Development Authority and Rural Airstrip Agency on Friday May 4, 2018.
Four airstrips will now undergo RAA’s restoration and maintenance program beginning this year. These airstrips are Wanikepa, Kopiago, Fugwa and Auwi.
The MOA which was signed by RAA CEO, Mr John Bromley and KKDDA Chairman Mr Johnson Tigi was witnessed by the local MP and Minister for Immigration and Border Security, Petrus Thomas.
Mr Thomas said the partnership is very timely and will serve those remote areas and cover all four LLG’s in the district.
“Roughly 20,000 people in the Kopiago and Hewa region will be served by the Kopiago and Wanikipa airstrips; another 13,000 people in Auwi/Pori to have access to the Auwi airport; and 37000 people, both South Koroba and North Koroba people will be served by the Fugwa airport,” Mr Thomas explained. “These airports will open up routes for government services, equipment’s and materials to reach various government and mission run institutions, aid posts, health centres and schools. Although the district is currently putting every effort to connect the remaining road links, the airports will also play a significant role in supporting basic services to the district in the medium to long term. It will also provide a platform for SME activities that the district is planning to roll out, such as Agri-businesses. Exploration companies in the region, in the likes of Kili-Tege and Muruk Gas will also benefit from these airports and will attract very good investments.”
DDA Chairman Johnson Tigi said the programme is the first of its kind in a district in both Hela and Southern Highlands to partner with RAA. He assured RAA and the National Government that the impacted communities will take full ownership of the program and provide support from leaders and community representatives.
RAA CEO John Bromley said RAA was committed to ensuring that the four airstrips will be restored and maintained at the best CASA standards.
“ We understand that the district was heavily affected by the recent earthquake and as such, we know the importance of these rural airstrips in delivering services to the very remote communities of the electorate, in good times and bad. I thank the MP and the DDA for the wisdom to invest in these rural airstrips for the benefit of all their rural communities.”
RAA is the agency tasked by the National Government to restore and maintain rural airstrips in partnership with District and Provincial Governments and other development partners.