Coalition Bill introduced to boost airline transparency and drive lower prices
Australians are in the grip of a cost of
living crisis, and few sectors are impacting households and businesses harder
than passenger aviation.
Which is why
Senators Bridget McKenzie and Dean Smith have today introduced a Private
Senator’s Bill that would restore oversight of the domestic aviation market by
the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
The monitoring would
track prices, costs and profits relating to the supply of domestic air
passenger transport services, and of related goods and services, for three
The aviation sector
remains one of the most concentrated in the Australian economy, with the Qantas
and Virgin Australia duopoly controlling 95% of the domestic market.
dealings between the Albanese Government and Qantas regarding the blocking of
additional Qatar Airways flights into Australia have reignited concerns about
sector competition and transparency.
The ACCC would be
required to publish a report of its findings at least once every quarter.
This Bill replicates
the monitoring regime begun under the previous Coalition Government, which ran
from June 2020 to June 2023.
In its final report
in June, the ACCC found that “a lack of effective competition is a key reason
why the industry has generally underperformed in terms of meeting the needs of
both the travelling public and the parts of the economy that rely on domestic
Despite its obvious
benefit to the travelling public and boosting competition, the Albanese
Government chose not to continue the monitoring.
Minister for Competition, Senator Dean Smith said Labor’s decision ignored
advice from the ACCC that sector oversight should continue.
clearly said that ongoing monitoring would boost transparency and scrutiny of
an industry in which new or growing airlines are trying to get established,”
Senator Smith said.
“This is totally at
odds with the Albanese Government’s supposed commitment to both transparency
and making life cheaper for Australians.”
After days of public
criticism, the Albanese Government has now confirmed the aviation sector will
be included in its upcoming competition review, but it has not provided any
details as to when the review will assess the industry, nor how it will be prioritised
against other sectors.
Shadow Minister for
Transport, Senator Bridget McKenzie said the Albanese Government is running a
protection racket for Qantas, which has been highlighted by the Government’s
recent decision to block Qatar Airways’ request for additional flights.
monitoring ended, I wrote to the Treasurer asking him to instruct the ACCC to
investigate airline competition and pricing, and provide recommendations to
government and industry to improve the competitiveness of airfares and enhance
service reliability,” Senator McKenzie said.
“And if he won’t act
on this, we will.”
“This is what this
Bill is all about.”
“The Prime Minister
and his ministers have provided 9, often conflicting, reasons as to why they
blocked Qatar Airways’ request.”
remains, why don’t the Albanese Government want to provide cheaper airfares for
the travelling public in a cost-of-living crisis?”
also highlighted the Labor Government’s Aviation Green Paper, which called
Australia’s aviation sector “highly concentrated”, a direct contradiction to
the Prime Minister’s earlier statements where he stated, “we have the most competitive aviation
market in the world, bar none.”