THE fight against exorbitant airfares in the North West has been raised in Parliament by Robbie Katter.
The State Member for Mount Isa on Wednesday asked Transport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe to find a solution into sky-rocketing airfare prices in the region.
Mr Katter urged the Minister to commit to an independent enquiry or study into why North West families are severely burdened by the cost of air travel.
“It’s unfair to expect people to drive a gruelling 20 hours to Brisbane or 10 hours to Townsville because they have no alternative due to the inflated cost of airfares,” he said.
Mr Katter acknowledged the Minister’s response, which will result in an update into services in regional Queensland.
“The Minister noted the downturn in the resources sector and impact of drought, and had been advised by the Department of Transport and Main Roads that they have decided to refresh the 2013 Long Distance Passenger Services Review and assess whether service levels are set correctly for regional Queensland,” he said.
“I welcome this action and hope it fully investigates the extent of what is a long-standing frustration for residents in the region.”
“We now have some real momentum on this issue and it’s time that something was done.”
Mr Katter said if the enquiry or study showed price gouging, it should be the catalyst for government to take action.
“We shouldn’t be the cash cows for air service providers,” he said.
“The price of airfares has a huge impact on liveability in the North West and is to the detriment of the local economy.”
“However, my comments in no way are a reflection of the excellent service that I have experienced from staff and employees of both Virgin and Qantas.”
Mr Katter also urged residents to email their story of frustrating airfares to [email protected] so that data could be collected on the issue.