Senate debates

Thursday, 8 February 2024

Statements by Senators

Aviation Industry

1:42 pm

Photo of Slade BrockmanSlade Brockman (WA, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

I rise to speak on an issue which is having a direct impact on my home state of Western Australia, but it's one that hasn't been widely remarked upon. Last week, a number of exemptions for flights out of Sydney airport to Western Australia were cancelled outside the curfew time. These exemptions were put in place during COVID, obviously due to the reduction in passenger flights and the increased demand for standalone freight flights. The return to the curfew times is, of course, under the law, and I accept that that is part of the arrangements that are in place, but we do have to consider the economic efficiency when freight across the Nullarbor, freight from that particular Sydney-to-Perth route, has grown by something like 50 per cent during that period.

This is not just people ordering the latest gizmo off an online service; this is businesses that are relying on essential parts reaching their place of business in a timely way and farmers who need an essential part for a piece of machinery. Often those houses of parts are not held in Western Australia; they're held in Sydney, so being able to cross the Nullarbor rapidly on an air-freight service is absolutely vital. A lot of businesses use just-in-time inventory in this day and age, and so, again, those freight services across the Nullarbor via air are vitally important.

So to reduce those linkages at this time, when the economy is under significant challenge, is something that does bear further consideration. Obviously the coalition has championed the Western Sydney airport, and hopefully that will alleviate some of these problems in time, but this is an issue that we do need to think about now for the economic efficiency of Australia.


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