13 May 2020
In response to more than two years of pressure, culminating in a disallowance motion tonight in the Senate, the Government has foreshadowed a new approach to airport security charges which will see Australians pay “a non-differential charge” for airport security screening, no matter what destination they depart from.
“After an extended campaign to get the Government to recognise and acknowledge that regional Australians would suffer under the costs of the new airport security screening requirements, we’ve had success. The Government has finally succumbed to that pressure and made a commitment to change the approach,” said Senator Patrick.
“My actions were described as ‘taking a sledgehammer to a walnut’, but if that’s what it takes then that’s what I’ll do,” said Senator Patrick.
In May 2018 the Government announced that it was increasing security screening requirements at regional airports and that $50M had been set aside to pay for any new equipment required. However, there was no funding to cover the ongoing operating costs of the equipment, which for many airports was more than $1M per annum. Local councils, who own most regional airports, would have to recover this cost from airlines, who would have to recover it from passengers. People flying from Whyalla to Adelaide would have had to pay an additional $52 for each flight to cover the costs. People flying from Port Lincoln to Adelaide would have had to pay an additional $10 to $20 per flight. The same troubling story was to be replicated around the county.
“A number of airlines, including QANTAS and REX, had indicated that the new charges would call into question the viability of a number of regional and remote air routes around the country. It was going to be disastrous for a number of cities and towns,” said Senator Patrick. “In the face of a regulation disallowance voted on in the Senate tonight the Government capitulated. The Government will develop a new approach that will see the same charges for all Australians.”
“The devil is always in the detail. I will be keeping a very close eye on things moving forward to make sure the Government follow through with their commitment.”
“Assuming it is implemented properly, this will be a big win for those people that live in the regions.”