Member for Mount Isa Robbie Katter has slammed the decision to appoint Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce a Companion of the Order of Australia for services to aviation.
“This is a man who last year took home a pay packet of about $13million. People in Mount Isa are struggling to afford flights to Brisbane because of exorbitant prices – it’s no wonder Qantas had a profit last year of $1.5 billion,” Mr Katter said.
Mr Katter said Mr Joyce’s comments in response to the award were particularly insulting.
Joyce told the media: “One thing I love about Australia is the fair-go mentality… Everybody should have an equal go.”
“What an absolute joke,” Robbie said.
“This is all we want for the North West when it comes to flight prices – a fair go. Alan Joyce wouldn’t know a fair go if it hit him in the face.
“He’s clearly forgotten what it’s like to not be able to afford to get to where you need to go. This is what people in the Isa are facing every day.”
Alan Joyce grew up in a working class family that he said couldn’t afford to fly anywhere on holidays.
“A lot of the time when people are flying out of Mount Isa it’s not for a holiday, it’s to see a doctor in Brisbane, or to go to a funeral or care for a sick relative,” Mr Katter said.
People in the North West are regularly faced with exorbitant prices.
“Only two weeks ago a Mount Isa woman had to pay $2600 for her and her two daughters to fly to and from a family funeral in Brisbane.
“It would have been cheaper for her whole family to fly to New Zealand from Brisbane.
“If Alan Joyce has a social conscience like he claims to, he’ll do something to fix this appalling problem.”
Joyce was awarded the honour for his "eminent service to the aviation transport industry, to the development of the national and international tourism sectors, to gender equity, inclusion and diversity, and to the community, particularly as a supporter of Indigenous education".