Dec 20, 2010

Government supports regional airlines’ access to Sydney

Government supports regional airlines’ access to Sydney

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

Minister for Infrastructure & Transport

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

December 20 2010

The Gillard Labor Government has acted to safeguard the access regional airlines have to Sydney Airport, putting into practice an important recommendation contained in the Aviation White Paper.

Earlier this year (28 May) we extended the Declaration and Direction under the Trade Practices Act 1974 to cap increases in aeronautical charges for regional air services at Sydney Airport to the Consumer Price Index.

Under the Direction, applications to vary those charges must be considered by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). Indeed in September a 2.9 per cent increase was rejected by the Commission.

Regional stakeholders, including Rex, have called for an ACCC inquiry into price setting at Sydney Airport under Part IIIA of the Trade Practices Act. The Government doesn’t believe such an inquiry is warranted.

In fact earlier this month (9 December) the Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten and I provided the Productivity Commission with terms of reference for an inquiry into the economic regulation of services at all of Australia’s major airports, not just Sydney.

This inquiry will provide industry and other stakeholders with the opportunity to comment on the quality of services provided and the prices charged. We brought it forward by two years after the ACCC raised concerns about aeronautical pricing and car parking in its 2010 Airport Monitoring Report.

The Productivity Commission inquiry will give all stakeholders the opportunity to put forward their views the way our major airports are regulation.

The inquiry will commence immediately and be finalised within 12 months.

I expect the Commission will seek public submissions in early 2011, and I encourage all interest parties to participate.

More information about the inquiry can be found on the Productivity Commission’s website: www.pc.gov.au.