Outback airfare rort reaches crisis point

The Prime Minister is being urged to use this week’s travelling road show bus tour of Queensland to put an end to the blatant air fare rip off in North West Queensland.

Return air fares from Mount Isa to Brisbane are running up to about $1000 person return, compared to about $300 per person return for Cairns/Townsville to Brisbane.

KAP State Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter said the issue reached breaking point last week as the Federal Senate Inquiry into Regional Airfares announced it would delay its report – which was due in December – until 27 June, 2019.

Mr Katter said the Palaszczuk Government also was burying its head in the sand while locals were being fleeced.

“The State Government has continually said they are awaiting the outcomes of the Federal Senate Inquiry before making any decisions to act on airfare prices in Mount Isa and other areas in regional Queensland,” he said.

“Now we’ve got another delay before even seeing the report, not to mention a Federal Election that needs to be held by May 18 at the latest.”

Mr Katter said he suspected that the Senate Inquiry Report had been pushed back because the Federal Government was opting to sit on the fence and stay out of the air fare issue.

“In the absence of the Prime Minister bringing the reporting due date back to December, we need the State Government to step up and take the lead on this,” he said.

“I am calling on the Premier to immediately put measures in place to support new entrant carriers into the North West market through a combination of financial incentives for new entrants and stronger competitive oversight of incumbents.

“It is generally accepted, albeit only supported by anecdotal evidence, that the major airlines who are incumbents on the routes are using their market power to protect their duopoly and stifle competition.

“The government needs to stop rolling over in the face of multinational companies and stand up for the people who have to spend the better part of two weeks wage to get from Mount Isa to Brisbane.

Mr Katter said the only other alternative was to regulate the route.

Mr Katter said he welcomed the Prime Minister breaking his bus tour schedule to fly out to Mount Isa to hear first-hand how blatantly the community was being ripped-off.

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