PRC re-launches Flightwatch and calls for State Government Inquiry
The Pilbara Regional Council is calling for a commitment to be made by State Government to work with key stakeholders in the Pilbara to:
- Establish an ‘Airways and Market Access Inquiry’ to examine the issue of airfare and air freight costs in connecting the Pilbara to Perth; and
- Develop an interim region travel support package for the express purpose of mitigating price-distortion currently faced by Pilbara businesses and residents.
As part of its advocacy for the region, the Pilbara Regional Council is pleased to re-launch its ‘Flightwatch’ project, a spoof of the Fuelwatch media initiative to give consumers important price advice on a vital and inelastic good that is an enabler of business activity and community connectivity.
In the same fashion, the Pilbara Regional Council is advocating for the needs of Pilbara residents, small businesses and farmers on the inequitable situation around regional airfares, which are an economic handbrake on growth.
Successive State Governments have invested billions in public funds with the express purpose of providing regions like the Pilbara with modern infrastructure, a more diverse economy and greater access to markets as enablers of economic growth and service delivery. Despite a downturn in the economy due to falling commodity prices, flights between Perth and the Pilbara are regularly run by the airlines at 60% capacity.
This is due to the distorting effect of fly-in-fly-out workforces, whose travel costs are paid by resource companies who derive a tax incentive from this staffing model; a rigged system that offers no consistency across other industries. The effect of artificially high flight costs renders these half-empty regional flights economically viable for the airlines, despite being inaccessible to residents, tourists and small businesses.
The Pilbara Regional Council has provided this Flightwatch data to compare costs from eastern states capitals to their fly-in-fly-out regional centres of similar distance travelled.
For more information about this issue and assistance or material to present this information to the public, please contact Pilbara Regional Council CEO, Tony Friday on 0400 055 739.