Call for investigation into Tasmanian airfare inequities

Nationals Senator for Tasmania Steve Martin has called for public submissions to be reopened for the Senate Inquiry into The operation, regulation and funding of air route service delivery to rural, regional and remote communities.

Senator Martin wants a public hearing to be held in Devonport in regards to regional airline routes and for a probe into airfare ticket inequities between destinations in the State. Senator Martin has written to the Deputy Chair of the Senate Standing Committees on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport, Senator Barry O’Sullivan, requesting that submissions to The operation, regulation and funding of air route service delivery to rural, regional and remote communities be reopened and heard from Tasmanians about inequities.

Senator Martin wants the committee to hold a public hearing in Devonport to hear directly from local businesses, organisations and people about differences in airfare prices to Tasmanian destinations.

“Tasmanian voices need to be heard by the Senate Standing Committees on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport as to why there are huge differences in the prices of airfares to Tasmania relative to Mainland routes, and even differences in comparable destinations namely Launceston and Devonport, ” Senator Martin said today. “From my investigations, it seems people living on the North West Coast of Tasmania are paying more to fly between the State and Mainland destinations compared to those flying in and out of Launceston.

“To support my request for a public hearing in Devonport, a snapshot of flights on QantasLink between Devonport and Launceston to Melbourne from August to October found price inequalities. Launceston was clearly the cheaper destination compared to Devonport. The North West Coast of Tasmania is a region that is recognised as a low social economic area, and the cost of travel via their local regional airports is inequitable and unacceptable.”

Senator Martin said the committee needs to investigate as to why airfare inequities between Tasmanian routes exist and what impact it has on regional opportunities, the economy, and the social and health sectors.

(Note, the attached spreadsheet highlights the differences in airfares for the period between August 7 and October 17)  

Spreadsheet