Dec 14, 2011

The future of Regional Aviation under a carbon price: The facts

[NOTE: This letter has been submitted and printed in a number of major regional newspapers – mainly in NSW and Victoria – in response to a misleading campaign being run by local Liberal and National Party MPs and Senators, including Warren Truss, Barnaby Joyce and Fiona Nash.]


Dear Letters Editor,

Liberal and National Party politicians – like their leader Tony Abbott – will say anything to mislead the community and get themselves in the paper.

The long term outlook for regional aviation and operators like Regional Express (Rex) is a positive one, with many emerging opportunities to expand their operations and grow their profits.

But don’t take my word for it.

In August – just three months ago and long after we had announced that the temporary en-route subsidy scheme would end and a price on carbon would be introduced – Rex Chairman Lim Jim Hai told the Australian Stock Exchange:

“I am actually more optimistic and confident of the outlook and potential of the Rex Group than I have ever been for the past nine years.”

In anyone’s language, that’s a very positive take from a man who would know.

After more than two decades of debate, the science on Climate Change is clear.  That’s why we’ve acted to put a price on carbon, a reform which for than more two decades Labor has said we would do.

I’m proud to be a member of a government that’s been prepared to do what’s right and not take the easy option of kicking the threat posed by carbon pollution down the road for our children and grandchildren to clean up.

While the action we’re taking will have an impact on airfares, it will be marginal – around $2 per seat – and come into effect at a time when flying is FIVE times more affordable than it was just two decades ago, thanks to earlier Labor reforms such as the deregulation of the domestic aviation industry.

Liberal and National politicians should stop their relentless negativity and start putting the interests of our country before those of their parties.


Yours sincerely,


Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister