Qatar Airways decision hits farmers and tourism

NSW Nationals

Nationals Shadow Minister for Trade and Tourism, Kevin Hogan, said Albanese Government’s decision to stop Qatar Airways increasing its flights to Australia will hit the nation’s critical tourism industry as well as our farmers.

Mr Hogan said Labor’s rejection of Qatar Airways’ request to double capacity with an extra 28 weekly flights will hurt the sectors which can least afford it, and comes as our trade performance worsens.

“Figures today show our exports fell two per cent, so we need more opportunities for air freight, not fewer,” Mr Hogan said.

“The government’s decision has said no to 700,000 additional seats from Europe and the Middle East each year, which would have generated hundreds of millions of dollars in economic stimulus for our tourism industry, our farmers, and the broader economy.

“Visitor arrivals are currently only 60% of what they were before COVID.”

Mr Hogan said in relation to air freight, the government’s decision is particularly hurting meat, horticulture, seafood, dairy and honey products, which together account for close to two-thirds of our exports.

“We agree with former ACCC chairman Rod Simms, who said that if ever there was a time for new entrants this is it, and former Labor Treasurer Wayne Swan, who has called for the decision to be reviewed.

“This protectionist government does not back Australia’s most critical sectors.

“This decision reduces competition, keeps airline tickets at record highs, stops international travellers choosing Australia as their holiday destination and reduces opportunities for our farmers to access world markets.”

/Public Release. View in full here.