Federal regional air inquiry date delayed again

RUNNING LATE: The Senate Inquiry into regional air travel has been delayed a fourth time until June 27, 2019.
RUNNING LATE: The Senate Inquiry into regional air travel has been delayed a fourth time until June 27, 2019.

The federal inquiry into regional and rural air travel has been delayed again – and this time crucially until after the next election.

The Senate granted a new extension to the inquiry to June 27, 2019 which now puts the likely reporting date after the next federal election, which is expected to be called around May next year.

Senator Barry O’Sullivan, who co-chairs the inquiry, would be out of parliament by then but the Weekend Australian quotes co-chair Glen Searle saying he would push for it to continue.

“Normally when a federal election is called all Senate inquiries cease and then it is at the behest of the new parliament,” Senator Searle told The Australian.

“If we haven’t had the opportunity to go through it all we will postpone and find a later date”.

The inquiry was originally called for in November 2017 with a report due March 30, 2018 then in February the date was moved again to September 20 then in August it was moved to December 4.

Now it’s been moved a fourth time. The Inquiry has finished all its regional sittings but there is still one key date remaining for when the major airlines will appear and no date has yet been set for that hearing.

Cloncurry air fare advocate Hamish Griffin said the airlines are putting up “road blocks” against the inquiry.

“Qantas and Virgin are trying their best to stonewall the inquiry and think they can hide behind their dynamic pricing and the algorithms that drive that process,” Mr Griffin said.