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Labor calls for sustainable aviation policy.

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4 October 2002


Labor has responded to media reports confirming that Singapore Airlines is interested in the Australian domestic aviation market with a word of caution to the Howard Government.

With the nation still suffering from the last year's aviation-competition bloodbath, the Howard Government should not just roll out the red carpet without going into bat for Australian jobs and regions.

The Federal Government should be preparing a sustainable aviation policy for Australia that takes into account national-interest issues.

Talks should be held with Singapore Airlines about what Australia needs - priority for Ansett workers and to ensure the airline serves regions, not just engage in cherry-picking the profitable routes.

Any new entrant must also be viable without State or Federal Government handouts.

Labor believes aviation competition is good for Australia, but another unsustainable, inter-capital-city fare war and eventual airline collapse, with taxpayers picking up the tab and workers losing out, would be a disaster.

If the Government is going to merely open the doors to cherry-pickers on the most profitable routes, then they are not doing regional Australia, airline workers, the tourist industry or the travelling public any favours in the long term.

The Prime Minister has described himself as a “free-market man” on the question of a new airline entrant to the domestic market.

Labor instead advocates an active, sustainable transport policy to ensure that new carriers don’t just create mayhem on the rich routes, ignoring the regions.

If the Howard Government had learned the lessons of the past, they would be pursuing talks with Singapore Airlines now to ensure our national interests and priorities are understood.

Media Contact: Denise Spinks 0407 435624

Federal M ember for Batm an Shadow M inister for Regional and Urban Developm ent, Transport, Infrastructure and Tourism Infrastr

Martin Ferguson MP