SENATOR THE HON BRIDGET McKENZIE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR INFRASTRUCTURE, TRANSPORT AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT
LEADER OF THE NATIONALS IN THE SENATE
SENATOR DEAN SMITH
LIBERAL SENATOR FOR WESTERN AUSTRALIA
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMPETITION, CHARITIES AND TREASURY
31 August 2023
LABOR’S AIRLINE COMPETITION CHAOS
Treasurer Jim Chalmers has been forced to make an embarrassing correction about whether airlines will be included in Labor’s recently announced competition review.
Assistant Minister for Competition, Andrew Leigh, said earlier this week they would not.
But the Australian Financial Review now reports that, in a characteristic backflip, the Treasurer has confirmed the aviation sector will be among those considered by Labor’s Competition Taskforce.
Coalition competition spokesman Senator Dean Smith said Labor’s lack of certainty regarding its own policies was alarming but welcomed news of the inclusion.
“If this attempt by the Albanese Government to enhance competition is to mean anything, it must include aviation,” Senator Smith said.
“The Treasurer said last week that the competition review was going to be ‘iterative’ and ‘methodical’, so I call on him to commit to making airline competition its priority and set a timeline for the review to report back on its findings.”
And Senator Smith again called on Labor to reinstate ACCC monitoring of the sector.
“In the meantime, recommencing the watchdog’s reporting role is a clear step the Albanese Government can take to improve aviation competition outcomes for Australians.”
Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Senator Bridget McKenzie said there are immediate decisions the Government could take that would improve competition, affordability and reliability in both the domestic and international aviation sectors.
“By responding to the Harris Review and adding additional flexibility for managing aircraft slots at Sydney airport the Government could put downward pressure on prices and improve service, getting more Australians to their destinations on time.”