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The complacent Ferguson

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Today in Parliament the Minister for Resources, Energy and Tourism, Martin Ferguson claimed to be ‘proud’ of what the mining boom had done for Australian Aviation.

This is the same minister who said on ABC Radio this morning that “You've got to understand, the resources boom is over” ….and that “the next (investment) pipeline is going to be more difficult.”

It also comes on the day that Qantas revealed that its fuel costs had risen 18 per cent to a record $4.329 billion and that it would be cancelling an order for 35 Boeing 787-9 aircraft, an order worth $8.5 billion at list prices.

Bob Baldwin the Shadow Minister for Tourism and Regional Development pointed out that “While is true that the Fly-in and Fly out business generated by mining has seen an increase in flights it has also created many challenges for the tourism sector and non-mining regional centres”.

“In 1997 there were 54 regional carriers operating 237 regional routes and today that figure I believe is less than 20 who are flying around 125 routings.

“While we welcome the recent announcement by Qantas that it was resuming services from Sydney to the Gold Coast after a 5 year hiatus, other tourism destinations have not been so fortunate.

“In the past year, Qantas has cut services to both Ayers Rock Airport and to Cairns due to falling patronage.

“In an environment where the mining boom is contributing to challenges for Australia’s aviation sector, the Coalition is deeply concerned about the impact from the ‘triple whammy’ that was inflicted by the government on the aviation sector from the 1st July as a result of its policies.

“All carriers are now facing new fees to cover airport security and the Gillard government’s Carbon tax while smaller regional carriers also face a cut of the $5million from the abolition of the En-Route subsidies scheme” said Mr Baldwin.

“Minister Ferguson and his colleague the Minister of Transport should be listening to what the voices from the aviation sector are telling him.

“Rex’s Chris Hine said that this ‘triple whammy’ will cost his airline about $6 million a year and whilst REX may be protected by its financial strength and diversification, this could be the ‘straw that brakes the camel’s back’ for smaller carriers.

“Malcolm Sharp of CEO of Sharp Airlines blamed the Carbon tax for the axing of his carrier’s Adelaide to Mildura service at the Regional Aviation conference earlier this year.

“Qantas and Virgin have estimated that the impact of the carbon price alone will add around $3 to $3.50 per seat per domestic sector to the cost of a ticket making it more expensive to travel.

Overall Virgin Australia have said this year’s Carbon Tax bombshell will be $45 million and Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, told a Senate Committee that he estimated his airline’s equivalent bill would be $115 million.

“If the resources boom is over Minister Ferguson should be looking at measures to support our Australia’s tourism and aviation sectors. It is not good enough to be dangerously complacent in Parliament regarding the future of our nation’s aviation sector” Bob Baldwin said.


Media : Julian Harniman M 0403 922831