House debates

Monday, 11 September 2023

Questions without Notice

Aviation Industry

2:34 pm

Photo of Kevin HoganKevin Hogan (Page, National Party, Shadow Minister for Trade and Tourism) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government. I refer to the minister's answers in question time last week in relation to her decision to block the application for additional flights to and from Australia by Qatar. In those answers, the minister seemed unable to recall any discussions about this matter with Qantas, the principal financial beneficiary of this decision. Now that the minister has had several days to refresh her memory, can the minister update the House on any discussions with Qantas she had about this matter?

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

As I have said repeatedly, my department undertook consultations with the relevant aviation stakeholders, and I was well aware of different stakeholders' views when I took the decision. I do routinely meet with the CEOs of all airlines, airports and peak bodies, and, as I said, from my recollection, the main people lobbying my office and me about Qatar were from Virgin and a third party who contacted my office on behalf of Qatar. Again, from my recollection, the discussions I have had with Qantas recently have in the main been about their concerns about our 'closing the labour loophole' legislation. The fact is that I and my office have received more lobbying on behalf of Qatar Airways than we did on behalf of Qantas. It might not suit the narrative of those opposite, but that is what happened.