The Palaszczuk Government is developing a price-tracking tool for regional airfares, to help rural and remote Queenslanders monitor air travel affordability.
Making the announcement today in Mount Isa with Mayor Danielle Slade, Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said regional airfares was one of the biggest issues raised when the Premier and her ministers visited the region in December.
“Hundreds of communities across the state are often a day’s drive from regional hubs, and these flights play an important role in helping families from those areas get to work, appointments and other services,” Mr Bailey said.
“When locals told us they wanted to look at price-tracking software, I tasked the Department of Transport and Main Roads to investigate potential solutions.
“Unfortunately, global economies have been impacted by COVID-19, and Queensland together with many of its regional air routes haven’t been immune.
“The Palaszczuk Government has supported the industry with a $54 million essential transport package, which has seen key regional routes continue operating as part of our economic recovery plan.
“Despite all this, we know the price of regional airfares remains an issue, and that’s why TransLink is now developing and will maintain its own, internal cost-monitoring dashboard that will monitor historic trends on key routes across the state.
“Using the dashboard, Translink will provide regular reports so the public can be better informed on regional airfares.”
The price tracking tool will include all air service routes regulated by the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR), as well as key unregulated commercial routes.
It will build on the methodology used by the Federal Government’s Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE).
BITRE currently provides high-level historical airfare price tracking data for some Queensland aviation routes, dating back as far as 2010.
Mount Isa City Council Mayor Danielle Slade welcomed today’s announcement from the Queensland Government and said she looked forward to positive outcomes as a result of the implementation of the price-tracking software.
“This is a crucial step in securing affordable and equitable air fares for residents of rural and remote communities, who have long called for cheaper air fares,” Cr Slade said.
“Affordable airfares will help encourage new business, attract and retain skilled and professional workers to live in Mount Isa and will go a long way to encourage tourism.”
Mr Bailey said while a price-tracking tool would play an important role, the issue of high regional airfares was not unique to Queensland, and a national response was still needed.
“The Palaszczuk Government will always step up to represent the concerns of regional Queensland,” Mr Bailey said.
“We’ve worked well with the Federal Government to secure roads funding, and acknowledge the Deputy Prime Minister’s support for keeping regional operators in the air.
“I’m hoping we’ll be able to work with them in this space, so they can take action with their Senate Inquiry now complete and the Productivity Commission looking into its findings.
“We’re taking action in Queensland with the extension of regulated rural air routes contracts and ongoing funding for the local fares scheme, but all levels of government, airlines, airport operators and contractors need to work together to address the issue of high cost regional airfares.”