It seems in our part of the world it is not just planes that get delayed, but inquiries into the running of those planes.
Now Northern Queensland advocate for more equitable air fares Hamish Griffin has blasted the Senators involved in the delayed federal inquiry into air services in regional and rural areas.
After the Senate pushed back the due date of the Inquiry to June 27, 2019 – likely after the next election Mr Griffin wrote to the Inquiry expressing his “grave concerns” about the progress of the inquiry.
“Is this is as a result of the major airlines, intentionally road blocking by hiding behind their dynamic pricing in a hope the instability in the federal government will lead to an election, therefore rendering the current inquiry null and void, or is there something more sinister at play?” Mr Griffin said.
Mr Griffin said federal MPs were entitled to unlimited business-class commercial flights.
“Please tell me this is not the reason that the airlines are not being urged to stand in front of the committee and explain their unethical, immoral and unfair treatment of people in regional and remote Australia,” he said.
Speaking in Mount Isa ahead of a meeting of Northern Australia ministers, Minister for Northern Australia Matt Canavan said the committee was dominated by the opposition.
“I am concerned about this delay, it’s an issue that relevant to right around regional Australia,” Senator Canavan said.
“In my view we need to look again at the restrictions we put on international airlines, particularly in northern Australia where we don’t have the competition.”
Traeger state MP Robbie Katter said the latest delay means the issue has reached “breaking point”.
“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,” Mr Katter 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.”
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He said the major airlines were using their market power to protect their duopoly and stifle competition.
“The government needs to stand up for the people who have to spend the better part of two weeks wage to get from Mount Isa to Brisbane,” he said.
“The only other alternative is to regulate the route.”
Mr Katter said he would like the Prime Minister to break his bus tour schedule to fly out to Mount Isa to hear first-hand how blatantly the community was being ripped-off.
The North West Star has contacted Inquiry co-chair Labor Senator Glenn Sterle’s office for comment.