Nationals Member for Riverina, Kay Hull, today called on the Rudd Government to guarantee regional airlines landing slots at Sydney airport, and not allow a diversion to Bankstown Airport.
The call came after a strong submission from Sydney Airport Corporation Limited to the Government’s National Aviation Green Paper, intimating regional airlines should be relocated to land at Bankstown Airport, as opposed to Mascot.
“Transport Minister Anthony Albanese has the power to make sure this does not happen, and I call upon the Minister to offer assurance to regional communities, and prevent this dire situation from eventuating.
“The former Government, under the leadership of the Hon. John Anderson, specifically ring-fenced regional airline slots at Mascot and this must be continued,” Mrs. Hull said.
“My major concern is the impact this would have on local businesses, access to health specialists, opportunity for investment and growth, and on the regional airline sector as a whole. A downturn in passenger numbers, caused by the inequity of not being able to access Mascot, would have catastrophic repercussions to the viability of the entire regional aviation service and the obvious benefits it affords regional NSW.
“It is not only the incredible inconvenience for those who have to catch a connecting flight from Mascot that is the concern, but the devastating impact it would have on regional business.
“The Government acknowledges that ‘the aviation industry is a key driver of broader economic prosperity’ in its National Aviation Policy Green Paper. It goes on to state that ‘a strategic approach based on properly-functioning, competitive markets is required to secure the industry’s future and promote the best interests of the travelling public and businesses that rely on the aviation sector.’
“The best interests for economic prosperity for regional NSW in this instance would be to guarantee access to the Sydney airport, which the Minister has the power to do.
“The Government must do everything in its power to ensure that our regional airline sector remains viable. A guarantee that regional airlines will not be forced out of Sydney airport would be a sensible step,” Mrs. Hull said.