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Wednesday, 20 August 1980
Page: 490

Mr CALDER (NORTHERN TERRITORY) - My question is directed to the Minister for Transport, and I refer to his recent Press release regarding concessional air fares introduced by major domestic operators and the fact that these concessions have had a beneficial effect on consumers and the airline industry. I ask: Will the Minister consider very seriously the effect any curtailing attitude by the Government may have on important visits by sportsmen, coaches, umpires, et cetera, to and from the Northern Territory and other outback areas? As the Minister will know, Trans-Australia Airlines supports the Cerebral Palsy Association. Will any curtailment of concessional fares inhibit such outstanding fund-raising organisations? Will it affect beneficial visits by Test cricketers, leading footballers, show judges, and other such persons? Finally, can an accommodating policy on this matter be expounded?

Mr SPEAKER - That seems a fairly nonpolitical question.

Mr HUNT (GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Transport) - The honourable member left out the Girl Guides, Mr Speaker. The Government will not do anything to deprive sporting bodies of concessional fare arrangements. I have had discussions with the Minister for Home Affairs, who has a responsibility for the sporting bodies of this country. Naturally, he has a very strong interest, and a strong desire to ensure that the arrangements the sporting bodies have had with the domestic airlines in Australia are not in any way upset by our determination to stop illegal discounting. Such a practice, of course, benefits only a limited or favoured few. I intend to have discussions in the very near future with the airlines and with the Confederation of Australian Sport to make sure that suitable arrangements are made for the sporting bodies. One aspect of the arrangements that I would want taken account of is that any concession the airlines give to select groups in the community should be made public. When a concession is given, others have to pay. Ultimately it is loaded into the fare structure generally.

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