CATHERINE KING MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR INFRASTRUCTURE, TRANSPORT AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR BALLARAT
SENATOR DON FARRELL
SHADOW MINISTER FOR TOURISM
SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA
HUNTER REGION LABOR TEAM
JOEL FITZGIBBON MP, PAT CONROY MP, MERYL SWANSON MP,
SHARON CLAYDON MP
Appearing on Monday night’s Four Corners, Virgin Australia chief executive Paul Scurrah revealed that there is “zero doubt” the reborn airline will fly to fewer places. With high profits to be made on east coast capital city routes, Virgin Australia in the future will fly to fewer regional destinations.
Prior to the crisis, Virgin Australia operated up to 35 domestic flights per week into Newcastle, as well as 3 flights per week from Auckland over the summer. These flights were essential to the Hunter region’s pre-COVID economy, and maintaining that level of service will be integral to driving economic recovery across the state.
Fewer routes will mean fewer tourists. In the year to March 2019, tourism injected $1.1 billion into the Hunter’s economy, supporting the jobs of countless locals.
If Virgin Australia is forced to cut any of its routes or 35 weekly flights to Newcastle it is local workers who will suffer most.
These route cuts will come after the Morrison Government rejected eight letters asking for assistance from the airline, preferring to allow the airline to fall into voluntary administration rather than taking any action to protect routes and jobs.
Fewer routes will mean higher fares and fewer services to regional communities, costing jobs across the country.
On Monday the Virgin chief also revealed that the airline received “mixed signals” from those around the cabinet table regarding the Government support that might be available to the stricken airline.
We know that there was Cabinet division, we know the Government hasn’t taken a sector-wide approach and we know routes and jobs will be lost as a result.
The Prime Minister is responsible for any job or route losses that occur as a result of his Government’s inaction