Letter to the Editor: O’Connor MP Rick Wilson says air travel is a necessity, delays should be compensated

Rick Wilson, MP O’ConnorAlbany Advertiser
Letters to the editor must contain the author’s full name, address and daytime contact number.
Camera IconLetters to the editor must contain the author’s full name, address and daytime contact number. Credit: Canva

It’s welcome news indeed that my Coalition colleagues, senators Bridget McKenzie and Western Australia’s Dean Smith, will introduce a ‘pay on delay’ Bill to Federal Parliament to compensate passengers when airlines’ flights are postponed or cancelled.

In vast regional electorates such as mine, air travel is a necessity, not a luxury.

My constituents battle the tyranny of distance in accessing many of the services that metropolitan residents take for granted.

Air travel is commonly used for both visiting medical specialists into regional and remote areas as well as travel to the metro area by my constituents to access medical appointments otherwise not offered in these communities.

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Air travel is also more expensive into regional areas, and so timely refunds and compensation for other arrangements are needed.

Timely advice of delays and cancellations is also needed, as medical appointments are often booked a year in advance and there needs to be time for alternative arrangements.

The former Coalition Government recognised the importance of air travel to regional areas with the launch of the $100 million Regional Airports Program in 2020 to help improve the safety of regional airports.

I’m in Cranbrook next week to open the upgraded runway of the airstrip there that received $62,500 under the third and final round of that essential program.

With matched funding from the Cranbrook community, it’s allowed the runway to be graded, levelled and gravelled. And that all makes for a much safer airstrip.

The project is one of 14 that have been funded by this Coalition program – also in Albany, Denmark, Narrogin, Wagin, Manjimup, Boyup Brook, Beverley, Cunderdin, Quairading and Wyalkatchem.

This, and other infrastructure funds that provided additional funding for our regional airports, were a hallmark of the former Coalition government. It is now up to the airlines to provide a reliable service that consumers can feel confident using.

Requiring airlines to compensate passengers for flight cancellations or delays would strengthen a link in the regional aviation value chain that extends from improved airport safety through to better levels of airline service.

Rick Wilson is the Federal member for O’Connor.

Letters to the editor must contain the author’s full name, address and daytime contact number. Letters may be edited for space, clarity or legal reasons. Email news@albanyadvertiser.com or post to PO Box 5168 Albany, WA, 6332.

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