Cheaper bush flights

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Nick ButterlyGeraldton Guardian
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Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack (right) during the Tourism & Transport Forum?s 2019 Leadership Summit in Sydney, March 8, 2019. (AAP Image/Peter Rae)
Camera IconDeputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack (right) during the Tourism & Transport Forum?s 2019 Leadership Summit in Sydney, March 8, 2019. (AAP Image/Peter Rae) Credit: AAPIMAGE

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has backed a push by the WA Nationals to slash the cost of flights to regional WA, with demands for subsidised $200 flights to centres such as Karratha and Port Hedland.

The WA Nationals will use their State conference in Exmouth this weekend to lock in a policy to force airlines to open their books to show how much profit they are making on flights to regional WA and to call for millions of dollars in State subsidies. for airfares to the bush. Mr McCormack who is in WA for the conference, said the Morrison Government was speaking to stakeholders in the aviation industry. with a view to bringing regional airfares down.

He said the Federal Government was currently developing a regional aviation policy statement following an inquiry into the operation and funding of regional air routes.

“We will also work closely with state and territory governments noting their key role in over sighting intra-state aviation by regulating and subsidising routes,” the Deputy PM said.

WA National Vince Catania said the said it was unacceptable that Qantas boss Alan Joyce could be paid a salary of $23.9 million while airfares to important economic centres like Karratha were often in excess of $1000 one way.

Mr Catania said the WA Nationals were looking for WA taxpayers to susidise flights to the regions, just as the the public transport network was heavily subsidised in the Perth metro area.

The WA Nationals are proposing taxpayers tip $250 million into regional airfare subsidies each year.

Mr Catania said fares to Geraldton and Kalgoorlie should be $100 one way, flights to Exmouth should be $150 and fares to Karratha and Paraburdoo could be $200.

Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan and and Federal Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie are also in Exmouth for the three-day WA Nationals conference.

The country party will use the conference to call for a ban on meat being substituted for “protein” in Australian dietary guidelines.

It remains unclear whether the WA Nationals will take their proposed $5 a tonne iron ore tax on BHP and Rio Tinto to the next election, with the policy deliberately left off the list of policy motions to be debated.

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