The Morrison Government must guarantee regional flights will continue or the economic recovery of communities across Queensland will be put at risk.
A stripped-down Virgin Australia would likely focus on high-profit routes between capital cities, delivering fewer flights to the regional communities that need them the most.
The aviation sector is crucial for cities and towns across Queensland, supporting the state’s tourism sector.
Prior to this crisis, Virgin Australia flew over 3000 flights a week to more than 30 Australian cities and centres. Many of these flights delivered visitors to Queensland’s prime tourist destinations, including Cairns, Townsville, Hervey Bay, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Mackay and the Whitsundays.
By allowing Virgin Australia to fall into administration, and refusing support throughout that process, the Morrison Government is putting those flights at risk.
This would be devastating for regional economies across Queensland, which need a competitive aviation industry.
With fewer seats and higher prices, flights to destinations across Queensland would become less affordable for all Australians.
Before the COVID-crisis, tourism contributed $12.8 billion to the Queensland economy and directly or indirectly employed 217,000 Queenslanders, or 9.1% of all workers in the state.
Tourism’s economic contribution is even more significant to regional cities and towns who rely on visitors for their local economies.
Throughout this process, the Prime Minister and members of the government from across Queensland have paid lip service to the fact that two strong, competitive airlines essential for our economic recovery.
At the same time, they have refused to take any action to ensure that our competitive airline industry remains a reality.
It is now time for the Prime Minister and members of his government to stand up for Queensland, stand up for their communities, and guarantee that regional routes will continue to fly no matter the outcome of Virgin Australia’s administration process.
Every route lost and tourism or aviation job cut will be the direct result of the inaction of Scott Morrison and his Government.
Regional economic contribution of tourism (https://teq.queensland.com/)
• Gold Coast – $5,032.3m
• Sunshine Coast – $3,027.9m
• Fraser Coast – $457.7m
• Southern Great Barrier Reef – $1,296.0m
• Mackay – $531.6m
• Whitsundays – $694.5m
• Townsville – $885.4m
• Tropical North Queensland – $3,535.8m
WEDNESDAY, 24 JUNE 2020
With Don Farrell