Pol­lies re­veal plans to cut high air­fares

Pilbara News - - State Election 2017 - Tom Zaun­mayr and Laura Meachim

A wide range of ideas have been thrown into the mix by po­lit­i­cal par­ties search­ing for ways to end the so-called “price goug­ing” by air­lines ser­vic­ing re­gional WA.

WA La­bor has promised a par­lia­men­tary in­quiry as well as us­ing pur­chas­ing power to in­flu­ence costs. The Lib­er­als want to pur­sue in­cen­tive mea­sures, while the WA Na­tion­als say reg­u­la­tion and price caps are the best way for­ward.

Pil­bara Re­gional Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Tony Fri­day said it was good to see the par­ties putting up ideas af­ter years of ad­vo­cacy.

“I don’t think there is any one ap­proach that is go­ing to be suf­fi­cient... and I wouldn’t want to see any one of those im­ple­mented as a shock tac­tic,” he said.

“We will be look­ing to have the ma­jor par­ties, whichever one gets in, start to en­act those prom­ises im­me­di­ately post march 11.”

Mr Fri­day said with re­sources com­pa­nies hav­ing sway over flight sched­ules at the mo­ment, gov­ern­ment needed to tread care­fully.

“The last thing we want to do is dam­age Aus­tralia’s na­tional pro­duc­tiv­ity in or­der to frac­tion­ally re­duce air­fare prices for re­gional Western Aus­tralia,” he said.

North West Cen­tral MLA Vince Cata­nia said res­i­dents in the North West were cry­ing out for re­form.

“I agree with an in­quiry but it needs to have teeth and needs to look at reg­u­la­tion and sub­sidi­s­a­tion for re­gional trans­port,” he said. “Reg­u­la­tion would al­low you to spread the cost of fly­ing over re­gional WA rather than tak­ing a town by town ba­sis.”

La­bor Mem­ber for Min­ing and Pas­toral Stephen Daw­son said an in­quiry would up the pres­sure on Qan­tas and Vir­gin.

“They are com­mer­cial op­er­a­tions and at the end of the day they make de­ci­sions based on com­mer­cial vi­a­bil­ity and what­ever else,” he said.

A Qan­tas spokesman said dis­tance, fuel, land­ing charges, se­cu­rity fees and type of air­craft all played a part in de­ter­min­ing price.

He said it was best for cus­tomers to take ad­van­tage of sales and to book early.

A Vir­gin Aus­tralia spokesman said the air­line was com­mit­ted to of­fer­ing com­pet­i­tive fares.

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