Longreach and Cloncurry have been identified as Queensland locations where the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee will hold hearings into rural and regional air routes and pricing structures.
Committee co-chair, Senator Barry O’Sullivan, confirmed on Friday morning that the two centres were definite starters, and although definite dates had not yet been set, they would most likely take place in March.
While Mr O’Sullivan hoped other public meetings could be held around western Queensland, these would be undertaken by the Senator himself, not the committee.
Broome, Darwin and Alice Springs are the only locations elsewhere in Australia so far confirmed for the inquiry into the “operation, regulation and funding of air route service delivery to rural, regional and remote communities”, announced last November.
The inquiry is set to focus on the social and economic impacts of fare costs and service delivery for non-metropolitan communities around Australia.
Some 122 submissions have been received by the committee to date, many from the Longreach region.
One from Longreach Regional Enterprise concentrated on the effect high airfares have on discouraging people into the region, either potential new residents fearing the cost of keeping in touch with family elsewhere, or attracting tourists.