SENATOR THE HON BRIDGET MCKENZIE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR INFRASTRUCTURE, TRANSPORT AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT
LEADER OF THE NATIONALS IN THE SENATE
SENATOR FOR VICTORIA
16 October 2023
ALBANESE GOVERNMENT NOT FOR TURNING ON HIGH AIRFARES, CANCELLATIONS AND DELAYS
The Albanese Government appears to be bunkering down on implementing the urgent changes needed to improve Australia’s aviation sector, including key recommendations made by the Select Committee on Commonwealth Bilateral Air Service Agreements.
Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development and Chair of the Select Committee, Senator Bridget McKenzie said the Transport Minister’s assertion today that the Albanese Government was going to ignore the recommendations of the committee, showed a blatant disregard for the Australian travelling public.
“Minister King has the ability to make decisions today that will cut the cost of airfares and reduce flight cancellations and delays,” Senator McKenzie said.
“But according to the Minister who today said ‘I’m not going to be listening to a highlypoliticised Senate Inquiry… a ridiculous farce…’
“Labor’s choosing to ignore the compelling and serious recommendations, they’re choosing Qantas over exporters, choosing Qantas over Australians at time of a cost-of-living crisis, and choosing to protect Qantas’ market share by not reviewing the decision to reject additional flights from Qatar Airways, it’s absolutely unbelievable.”
Recommendations made by the Select committee include:
- Immediately Review the Qatar Airways decision
- Immediately Reinstate ACCC monitoring of domestic airlines
- Urgently respond to Harris Review into Sydney Airport slots
- Strengthen competition in domestic aviation, including investigating divestiture powers
- Implement consumer protection reforms for travellers
- Seek to extend the Select Committee to hear from Alan Joyce AC and Minister Catherine King
Senator McKenzie said there are still questions that needed to be answered regarding the Qatar Airways decision given the Government sought to prevent the committee from fully investigating the reasons why by refusing to release documents and placing a gag on the infrastructure and foreign affairs departments.
“The committee has recommended the Senate vote to extend the Select Committee to enable it to hear from Mr Alan Joyce AC, who was unable to appear before the inquiry due to being overseas, as well as seeking to have the Parliament direct Transport Minister, Catherine King appear before the extended inquiry,” Senator McKenzie said.
Minister King failed to formally respond to the committee’s original request for her to appear, despite telling media she would not front up.