Local MP Questions Western Airfares

  • Longreach to Auckland cheaper than Longreach to Brisbane
  • Member questions outcome of the Qld Department of Transport Aviation contracts at Blackall, Barcaldine and Longreach airports.

It is cheaper to fly from Longreach to Auckland than it is to fly to Queensland’s capital city of Brisbane, according to local MP Lachlan Millar.

“On February 27, I can fly Longreach to Brisbane one-way for $458 but I can fly Longreach to Auckland, New Zealand, at the cheaper price of $429,” said Mr Millar.

“This price schedule bears no connection to people’s needs and it doesn’t appear to reflect traffic patterns either. Not many people would be travelling to Auckland compared to Brisbane.

“And when they do need to go to Brisbane, a family of five will pay over $4,500. This puts air travel out of the question for many western Queenslanders including family groups, seniors and wage earners such as apprentices,” he said.

Mr Millar said the unusual air fare structures raise questions about the oversight of the Queensland Government’s aviation contracts in the regulated airports of Barcaldine, Blackall and Longreach.

“I raised the issue in Parliament in November and still nothing has changed. Brisbane is the key centre for people living in the central west. It is usually where our medical evacuations are sent and so loved ones will often follow family members, at their own expense, so they can be there to support them. That family of five may well be travelling on short notice to farewell Grandma who has previously been taken to Brisbane as a medical evacuation,” said Mr Millar.

“People also need to travel to Brisbane regularly for business, education, banking and legal matters and they are understandably fed up with the costs and lack of transparency in pricing structures.

 “The Queensland Government is supposed to ensure that a so-called Resident’s Fare is available to people. This sets the fare for Longreach to Brisbane at $170 but people say they can never get a Resident’s Fare. The normal experience for residents is to pay just under $500 one-way, per passenger.”

Mr Millar said a lack of transparency is also a problem.

“It leaves people wondering what they have to do to get a Resident’s Fare to Brisbane. There seems to be no public consultation where local residents can ask questions about the contract’s terms and applications for their airport.

“People would like to know how many Resident’s Fares are made available on the daily flight into and out of these airports and what they have to do to qualify for one,” he said.

Mr Millar said given the lack of public consultation, the Deputy Premier and Minister for Transport should investigate these outcomes for residents of Queensland’s Central West.

“Some of the questions the Deputy Premier could ask on their behalf include how many seats per annum are available for the “Resident’s Fare” price?

“She could also ask what basis is used to determine the size of this allocation. Does it fairly reflect the total flights in and out of these airports? Does it fairly reflect the population and their needs? How far ahead must a resident book to get these fares?

“And finally, why is it cheaper to fly to Auckland than it is to fly Longreach to Brisbane?” said Mr Millar.