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Thursday, 24 June 2010
Page: 6730

Mrs Hull asked the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, in writing, on 25 May 2010:

(1)   Is the Government aware of the intent of Sydney Airport Corporation Limited to impose punitive aircraft parking charges from 1 July 2010 on regional airlines, freight, charter and general aviation operators using the general aviation parking area.

(2)   Is the Government aware that the expiry of the current regulatory safety-net means that the proposed price increases, which would severely impact the viability of regional air services at Sydney Airport, will no longer be subject to Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) assessment, nor to a Consumer Price Index (CPI) cap.

(3)   Is the Government planning to extend Declaration 91 and Direction No. 30 under Division 4 of Part VIIA of the Trade Practices Act 1974, due to expire on 1 July 2010, requiring proposed price increases in relation to regional air services to be assessed by the ACCC.

(4)   Does the Government stand by its commitment: ‘the Government will also ensure regional airlines’ continued access to capital city airports, particularly Sydney where capacity is constrained, by retaining regional airlines’ existing access slots and their current pricing arrangements.’ (Australian Government, Flight Path to the Future, National Aviation Policy, White Paper, December 2009, page 8).

(5)   Does the Government stand by statements in the paper referred to in part (3) that commit to maintaining ring-fencing of regional slots, including during peak periods, at levels available in the year 2000 prior to privatisation, and continuing with the current regulatory regime, that caps pricing for regional airline aeronautical charges at Sydney Airport to CPI levels.

Mr Albanese (Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government) —The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

The Government has extended the price capping arrangements for regional air services from 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2013. Declaration No.92 and Direction No.32 extending the price capping arrangements for aeronautical services and facilities provided to regional air services were signed by the Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs, the Hon Dr Craig Emerson MP, on 28 May 2010. These instruments replace Declaration No.91 and Direction No.30.