SENATOR THE HON BRIDGET MCKENZIE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR INFRASTRUCTURE, TRANSPORT AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT
LEADER OF THE NATIONALS IN THE SENATE
5 September 2023
SELECT COMMITTEE ON COMMONWEALTH BILATERAL AIRSERVICE AGREEMENTS
Today the Senate voted for the Coalition’s proposal to establish a special inquiry into the circumstances of the Albanese Government’s decision to block Qatar Airways’ proposal for additional air services to Australia.
The ‘Select Committee on Commonwealth Bilateral Air Service Agreements’ will investigate the Transport Minister, Catherine King’s decision and examine why the Government has chosen to restrict competition in the Australian airline industry.
“The Senate will now hold a special inquiry into why the Prime Minister and his Government is standing in the way of cheaper airfares,” Senator McKenzie said.
“This is a win for everyday Australians who want more competition and lower airfares in our aviation sector.”
The inquiry will be short and will report back to the Senate on October 9, ahead of the busy Christmas holiday travel season.
“It is disappointing that over seven weeks the Government has given seven different, sometimes conflicting, excuses as to the Minister’s decision,” Senator McKenzie said.
“What we’ve seen in Question Time this week is more obfuscation by the Prime Minister and his Ministers.”
“I want to thank the Senate crossbench and independent Senators for agreeing to hold this inquiry.”
“There have been repeated calls from economists, tourism operators, business leaders, exporters, and Labor state government leader for the decision to be reversed.”
It is unfortunate that Labor and the Greens sought to continue their protection of certain sections of the aviation industry against the interests of Australian travellers.