House debates

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Questions without Notice

Aviation Industry

2:30 pm

Photo of Ms Catherine KingMs Catherine King (Ballarat, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister. Yesterday, the Deputy Prime Minister justified giving tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to the owners of private jets because they helped ensure frontline medical personnel could get around the country. How many frontline medical personnel did billionaire Clive Palmer carry on his luxury private jet?

Photo of Michael McCormackMichael McCormack (Riverina, National Party, Leader of the Nationals) Share this | | Hansard source

Our entire aviation sector will be critical in supporting the broader economy in the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. It supports hundreds of thousands of jobs, promotes competition and ensures services regularly reach all Australians. 'It is not possible for the aviation industry to hibernate over coming months without adequate government support'—

Opposition Members:

Opposition members interjecting

Photo of Michael McCormackMichael McCormack (Riverina, National Party, Leader of the Nationals) Share this | | Hansard source

I can hear them yelling opposite, but that is what the member for Ballarat, the shadow minister for transport, actually had to say on 3 April. We acknowledge that it was necessary to provide the support on a sector-wide basis and we did not discriminate between airlines. We did not discriminate against those operating charter flights. Let me tell you that the Royal Flying Doctor Service was also a beneficiary of the support that we have provided—$2.7 billion of support for the aviation sector.

I'm asked about the importance of and what has transpired with charter flights. I've said all along, repeatedly and ad nauseam, that planes in the air means jobs on the ground. From a practical point of view, every commercial flight—and this is an important point—requires a minimum of one to two pilots, one cabin crew, one ground crew, one check in, one airport reporting officer, one air traffic controller, one maintainer engineer, one firefighter, one airline operations personnel and one refueller. So every plane that takes off and lands requires ground crew and requires people to ensure—

Opposition members interjecting

You may laugh and you may mock, but the fact is we are providing valuable assistance for the aviation sector. That's valuable assistance that the shadow minister supported then and obviously does not support now.