ACT Independent Senator David Pocock has welcomed the Albanese Government’s reinstatement of ACCC flight monitoring, which he has been calling for consistently to better protect consumers and promote transparency.
The monitoring will recommence before the end of the year and continue for three years with quarterly reporting
Canberrans are among the most adversely affected by the lack of competition in the aviation sector, with Canberra to Sydney and Sydney to Canberra the number 1 and number 5 most cancelled routes in the country.
“We have a dire lack of competition in Australia’s airline industry but also more broadly across the economy,” Senator Pocock said.
“I welcome all measures that will enhance transparency and competition and thank the Government for agreeing to reinstate this monitoring.
“Australians should not have to pay high prices for airfares because of a lack of competition in the market.
“I look forward to further reforms as part of the Aviation White Paper and broader Competition Review that is currently underway.”
The ACCC had previously monitored flights from June 2020 to June 2023 and during this time found: “The duopoly market structure of the domestic airline industry has made it one of the most highly concentrated industries in Australia, other than natural monopolies. The lack of effective competition over the last decade has resulted in underwhelming outcomes for consumers in terms of airfares, reliability of services and customer service.”
The reinstatement of ACCC flight monitoring is one of five key actions Senator Pocock has called for to promote transparency and increase competition in Australia’s aviation sector.
Senator Pocock also called for more transparency around government decision making when it comes to bilateral air services agreements, the full and urgent implementation of all recommendations of the 2021 Harris review, with a focus on slot sharing, a commitment by government from government to look at a compensation regime for consumers for cancelled flights and developing and implementing a National Standard for Cancellation which triggers a show cause process when not met.
Senator Pocock supported and participated in the recent Select Committee on Commonwealth Bilateral Air Service Agreements.
While agreeing that there are serious concerns over the decision of the former Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, Senator Pocock did not support a move today by Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie to reconstitute the committee.
“Senate Committees are a powerful tool and the recent select committee chaired by Senator McKenzie did some really important work and made recommendations that will lead to good outcomes for Australians,” Senator Pocock said.