Senator the Hon. Bridget McKenzie
Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development
28 July 2023
SKY HIGH AIRFARES A LABOR POLICY TO MAKE QANTAS PROFITABLE
The Albanese Government’s sixth attempt at justifying its internationally embarrassing decision to deny Qatar
Airways additional flights has claimed Australia’s aviation industry could be “destroyed” if Labor did not keep Qantas profitable.
Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Senator Bridget McKenzie said the
Assistant Treasurer has today confirmed the Labor Government has been running protection to help ensure a
private company Qantas makes record profits off the back of Australian families and businesses.
“The Minister has today admitted the Government could do more to reduce the cost of air travel in this
country but refused to do so in order to prop up Qantas’ profits,” Senator McKenzie said.
In a statement provided to the media just days after Qantas reported a record profit, Assistant Treasurer
Stephen Jones admitted “we can drive prices down”, but claimed doing so could “destroy the industry over the
medium and long term”.
“While families are facing a cost of living crisis the Labor Government has chosen to protect the profits of its
corporate mates at their expense,” Senator McKenzie said.
“Why would a Labor Government deliberately want to keep the cost of flying artificially high at a time of high
inflation and cost of living crisis?”
“There have now been six different excuses given for Labor’s decision to block Qatar Airways providing
additional flights to Australia and each reason makes less and less sense.
“Transport Minister Catherine King has variously claimed it was a human rights issue, a way to ‘decarbonise
aviation’, ‘protecting local jobs’, ‘not in the national interest’, and then helping Qantas afford to buy new
Senator McKenzie said the greatest threat to the longevity of the Australian aviation industry is having a
protectionist Labor Government in Canberra deliberately seeking to manipulate the market by favouring one
airline over all others.
“Not only will consumers be alarmed at the Assistant Treasurer’s admission, Qantas’ domestic and
international competitors will be aghast at the prospect the Government would deliberately act to tip the
scales against them.
“The Qatar debacle demonstrates Labor’s complete lack of any principled aviation policy necessary to support
an affordable and reliable industry with a wide choice of destinations for passengers and freight.