The Nationals Senate team has welcomed moves by the Government to ensure costs incurred by regional airports to implement improved security screening measures will not be passed on unfairly to regional travelers.
The Nationals in the Senate negotiated changes to the cost recovery model proposed by the Government to ensure travellers did not face disproportionate cost increases, particularly at a time when regional aviation is reeling from the consequences of COVID-19.
“The Nationals are here for regional Australia. When travel restrictions are lifted, we want people visiting the regions and we don’t want costs to replace COVID as an impediment to those visits,” Nationals Senate Leader Bridget McKenzie said.
“We support the security screening, but right now regional tourism is stagnant. We need to kick start it again and adding costs to regional air travel is the wrong thing to do in a post COVID-19 environment,” she said.
Chair of the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee and Nationals Senator for Queensland Susan McDonald said regional airport operators had made it clear what increased costs would mean.
“Everyone is aware that if you increase costs on airports, they will be passed on to operators, who will pass them on to passengers,” Senator McDonald said.
“At our hearings many regional airport operators told us they are concerned about the potential impacts of increased costs leading to fewer passengers, fewer services and eventually even fewer airports serving regional Australia.