Transport for NSW looking to deregulate Moree-Sydney air service

The deregulation of the Moree-Sydney air service is on the agenda for Transport for NSW.
The deregulation of the Moree-Sydney air service is on the agenda for Transport for NSW.

Deregulation of the Moree-Sydney air service is on the agenda for Transport for NSW (TfNSW) and Moree Plains Shire Council is seeking input on whether this approach is supported by the community.

The NSW Government (through TfNSW) has commenced consultation with Moree Plains Shire Council in relation to the potential deregulation of the Moree-Sydney air service route. In turn, Council has been asked to consult with the Moree Plains Shire community in this regard.

In a recent report into regional air services, the Legislative Council Standing Committee on State Development expressed a view that deregulation can provide opportunities for growth. 

Following this, the NSW Government reviewed the regulatory arrangements for some air service routes within NSW without a current service. This resulted in the deregulation of 4 routes – from Sydney to Cobar, Cooma, Mudgee and Narrabri.  In each case, the NSW Government reduced red tape by removing the requirement for a licence and making it easier for airlines to consider new services. Since the deregulation of these 4 Sydney-linked routes, new services have started on 3 and there has been operator interest in undertaking service on the fourth route.

The NSW Government is now considering extending deregulation to the Moree-Sydney air service route. 

Council’s General Manager, Lester Rodgers explained TfNSW considers that deregulation is an opportunity for councils to directly negotiate with operators to determine which airline best meets the needs of the community, rather than this taking place through the NSW Government.

“Our air service is currently regulated under licence. This licence will end in March 2018. We, as a community, need to consider whether we want to stick with this approach or not.”

Mr Rodgers went onto confirm, “The air services which operate from the Moree Regional Airport (including the Moree-Sydney route) are fundamental to our community. This was all too apparent when the Moree-Sydney service was temporarily suspended some time ago.”

“Council will be considering its position at its Council meeting next week but it is incumbent on us to ensure that this aligns with the broader community’s sentiment. TfNSW have made it clear that part of our role is consulting with our community on behalf of TfNSW in this regard,” he said.

A one-minute online survey - https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MGF8WJ5 - is now open for residents until 5pm Friday 24 February 2017. Links to this survey and other information (in particular, the differences between a regulated and deregulated route) can be found on Council’s website and Facebook pages. Hard copies are also available at the Moree Community Library and at Council’s Customer Service Centres at Moree, Mungindi and Boggabilla.

“This is an opportunity for Council to obtain feedback from the community on their views in relation to deregulation. I encourage residents to complete the survey as we need to collate the findings and provide feedback to the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure by the end of the month,” said Mr Rodgers.

Alternatively, written submissions are also welcome. These should be marked to the attention of the General Manager, Moree Plains Shire Council, PO Box 420, Moree NSW 2400 or emailed tospeakupmoree@mpsc.nsw.gov.au by 5pm Friday 24 February 2017.