Moree Regional Airport could be in line for some major upgrades if Moree Plains Shire Council is successful in a federal grant application bid.
Council is hoping to secure a share of round four of the federal government's Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) to undertake a number of security upgrades to Moree airport.
The BBRF Infrastructure Projects Stream aims to support projects which involve the construction, upgrade or extension of infrastructure in drought-affected areas.
At Thursday's council meeting, councillors heard that upgrades to the security measures at the airport are required to future-proof the vital service and improve passenger experience.
"We're making this recommendation on trying to envisage for the future," council's director of engineering Ian Dinham said.
"We've had several break-ins at our airport, with people stealing things from cars, so a secure car park is something we've looked at."
The grant application will include extending the existing terminal building to facilitate an arrival and departure lounge with available space for future security screening requirements, including a baggage handling extension; relocating the existing access gate, currently situated between the terminal and the BP fuel depot, to south of the fuel depot; constructing a long-term secured car park; extending Airport Drive to the south to service the access gate and secured long-term car park; and the installation of additional lighting and CCTV cameras.
"This would help secure our position with a recognised carrier who provides quality service," Cr Mike Montgomery said in favour of the grant application during Thursday's council meeting.
"I think we need to be able to provide some sort of security that people require in this day and age.
"We need to do what we need to do to secure our carrier."
Cr Kerry Cassells seconded the motion.
"I think it's been a long time coming and due to the upheaval we've had out there, it's something we need as soon as possible," she said.
The upgrades are estimated to cost at least $6.7 million.
A total of $200 million is available under round four of the BBRF, with grants of between $20,000 to $10 million to be provided through the Infrastructure Projects Stream.
As part of its grant application, council will apply for a partial or full exemption to the 25 per cent contribution requirement of the funding, by demonstrating that the shire is experiencing exceptional circumstances directly attributed to the current long-term drought conditions. If the exemption request is unsuccessful, council will source the 25 per cent contribution from loans funds.
An amount of $30,000 will be allocated from the airport reserve to augment the balance of the existing project for preparation of a Terminal Building Business Case to contract Aviation Projects Pty Ltd to complete the funding application and supporting documentation.
The BBRF is separate to the recently-announced Regional Airports Program, which is restricted to aviation safety improvements.