Mount Isa mayor backs State Member Rob Katter in Qantas and Virgin Australia airfare study

THE Mount Isa mayor said she did not know about a Mount Isa local’s rant on airfare prices which gained national exposure. 

Joyce McCulloch said she was aware of the Pilbara councils seeking an inquiry into costs of airfares, but not of Kyle Keighery’s Facebook post directed at Qantas on September 2 which included the phrase “spirit of ripping people off”.

Councillor McCulloch was in Burketown a fortnight ago when the regular Regional Organisations of Councils (ROC) was held, during which the decision for attending councils gather evidence of exorbitant airfare prices for the state government was made. 

It means that this decision was made before Cr McCulloch was aware of the rant. She was prompted to raise the issue after ABC contacted her for comment about the Pilbara councils seeking a state government inquiry. 

Council will support an inquiry into Mount Isa airfares.

Council will support an inquiry into Mount Isa airfares.

“It wasn’t because of social media. I don’t have a clue what’s going on in social media,” Cr McCulloch said. 

She was responding to an observation of social media cynicism, that action from local politicians was being taken only after a local’s frustrations went viral. 

An example of such a comment was on The North West Star’s Facebook, which was; “it just proves the pollies don’t know how much it costs when they fly. The Mount Isa flight rip-off has been happening for years and now they want to do something”. 

Cr McCulloch acknowledged high price of airfares was an ongoing issue and had a huge impact on Mount Isa’s livability. However, changes from this year’s local government election could mean a different outcome. 

“We have got different people in positions that can pursue a different avenue of lobbying,” the mayor said. 

And although State Member Rob Katter had been in his position for five years he now had the full support of the Mount Isa City Council which was under the leadership of Cr McCulloch. 

“Which makes it a lot easier for him,” the mayor said. 

Mr Katter urged transport minister Stirling Hinchliffe for a study into the region’s airfare prices when he spoke in parliament last week. 

Mr Hinchliffe said the Department of Main Roads would review whether transport service levels were correctly set for regional Queensland. Mr Katter said “real momentum” had been made on the issue but urged residents to email their frustrating airfare stories to so that data could be collected. 

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